album reviews

Mirah and Spectratone International
Share This Place: Stories and Observations
K Records (2007)

The concept behind "Share This Place: Stories and Observations" makes the album sound a lot more bizarre than it is: a collaboration between Mirah and other musicians to score a dozen short animated films by Britta Johnson -- about insects. Luckily, these songs hold up well without their visual accompaniment, and the insect theme comes across more poetically than as a series of itsy-bitsy spider parables.

Mirah seems to blend many of the compelling characteristics of her fellow indie songstresses: Jenny Lewis's swaying sweetness on "Community," Shannon Wright's controlled caterwaul on "Song of Psyche" and Joanna Newsom's childish delivery on "Gestation of the Sacred Beetle." In fact, Newsom might be the most consistent sound-alike for "This Place," from the percussive plucking of Kane Mathis's oud (a Middle Eastern string instrument) to Mirah's enchantingly over-pronounced vocabulary. Rather than sounding like a knockoff, though, Mirah captures the insect world with a charming joy, even with such improbable subjects as "Love Song of the Fly" (sung for a human as the critter is dying on flypaper).

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 11 January 2008, Page WE08
.: Share This Place: Stories and Observations on