What We Lose In the Fire We Gain In the Flood by The Mynabirds on Apple Music

10 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Rising from the ashes of D.C. pop duo Georgie James, singer-songwriter Laura Burhenn retreated to rural Oregon with singer-songwriter/producer Richard Swift, and recorded a collection of tunes as earthy as a bunch of handpicked wildflowers. Conjuring sun and soil and musty old houses with stories to tell, the songs on What We Lose In the Fire… have the feel and texture of artists like Dusty Springfield and the ‘60s; but plenty of moments put Burhenn in the here and now, alongside female vocalists like Sarah Jaffe and Chan Marshall of Cat Power. Joined by musicians from bands such as Bright Eyes, These United States and Azure Ray, tunes like “Numbers Don’t Lie” and “LA Rain” sway with soulful seduction, and Burhenn’s voice melts butter on tracks like “Give It Time,” “Right Place” and “What We Gained In the Fire.” Songs like “Let the Record Go” and “Wash It Out” turn up the drums a notch, and give the record some swagger, in the same way Thao Nguyen infuses her songs with a sexy kind of energy. It’s great to hear Burhenn’s vocals showcased in such fine material.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Rising from the ashes of D.C. pop duo Georgie James, singer-songwriter Laura Burhenn retreated to rural Oregon with singer-songwriter/producer Richard Swift, and recorded a collection of tunes as earthy as a bunch of handpicked wildflowers. Conjuring sun and soil and musty old houses with stories to tell, the songs on What We Lose In the Fire… have the feel and texture of artists like Dusty Springfield and the ‘60s; but plenty of moments put Burhenn in the here and now, alongside female vocalists like Sarah Jaffe and Chan Marshall of Cat Power. Joined by musicians from bands such as Bright Eyes, These United States and Azure Ray, tunes like “Numbers Don’t Lie” and “LA Rain” sway with soulful seduction, and Burhenn’s voice melts butter on tracks like “Give It Time,” “Right Place” and “What We Gained In the Fire.” Songs like “Let the Record Go” and “Wash It Out” turn up the drums a notch, and give the record some swagger, in the same way Thao Nguyen infuses her songs with a sexy kind of energy. It’s great to hear Burhenn’s vocals showcased in such fine material.

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About The Mynabirds

Before forming the Mynabirds in 2009, Laura Burhenn made her living as a solo artist in Washington, D.C., where she also founded Laboratory Records in 1999. Eight years later, she teamed up with John Davis -- another veteran of the local music scene -- to form an experimental duo named Georgie James. Although Davis' previous group, Q and Not U, had been known for its aggressive post-hardcore music, Georgie James looked to pop groups for inspiration, particularly harmony-heavy outfits like the Zombies and the Kinks. The group didn't last long, though, with Burhenn and Davis going their separate ways after releasing one album.

For her next project, Burhenn decided to stay with Saddle Creek, the same Nebraska-based label that had released Georgie James' debut in 2007. She wrote a new batch of songs inspired by the likes of Neil Young, Motown, and Carole King, and eventually relocated to Oregon to record the material with producer Richard Swift. Another Saddle Creek artist, Orenda Fink, helped Burhenn assemble a solid backing band, and the resulting record -- What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood, which Burhenn released under the Mynabirds moniker -- appeared in 2010. A limited-edition 7", "All I Want Is Truth (For Xmas)," arrived in 2011, followed by the group's sophomore outing, Generals, in 2012.

Burhenn toured as a member of the reunited Postal Service in 2013 until their official disbandment that summer, then toured solo in locales including South Africa amidst taking time off for writing and continuing to travel internationally. Produced by Bradley Hanan Carter of NO, a third Mynabirds album, Lovers Know, appeared in the summer of 2015 with lyrics informed by her journeys and lusher synth pop sounds reflecting more '80s influences than '60s. In 2017 the band released the politically charged Be Here Now, which was recorded in the two weeks following the inauguration of Donald Trump and the Women's March. ~ Andrew Leahey

  • FORMED
    2009

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