Mi and L'au | Review

new-noise | Nadeem Ali

Cheese is a dangerous killer.

Folk is so hip right now it is being use to sell us cheese in the form of the new folk scene's Charles Manson and Andy Warhol combined, Devendra Banhart. In this day and age of faddish diets and a globally collective case of hypochondria dairy products have become one of the bad guys. Cheese is a dangerous killer. It's a symptom of a modern malaise in capitalist society when war, famine and environmental problems are wreaking havoc around the world that we continue to worry about nothing other than ourselves and trying to defeat death. Rather than AIDS, poverty or homelessness, amongst other problems, we focus on trying to grab onto a few more minutes of that precious commodity we call life. So cheese is vilified and it needs something pretty special to make it appealing to the same fickle people who would start raping their children if the Daily Mail told them it would prevent them getting cancer. What have the people at Cathedral Cheddar Cheese decided to do? Use a catchy little Devendra Banhart song and automatically attach their brand of cheese to a potential zeitgeist. Whoever thought of partnering cheese with the counterculture is a cynical genius. Banhart was the perfect choice though. His whimsical fare is light enough for casual cheese consumers. Mi and L'au are on the other hand are a completely different slab. Whilst they share the same pixyish charm, Mi and L'au are a far darker affair. In fact there is something rather haunting about their debut album. They even look a suitably haunted duo in pictures. Mi and L'au conjure up eerily baroque images from some faraway but charmingly exotic fairy tale land through their expressionist folk. It is not surprising to find out that the album was recorded in an isolated small cabin in Finland. Mi is Finnish, L'au is French. They became lovers immediately and decided to make sweet sweet music together literally. Except not quite literally. As I have made clear their music could never be considered sweet in any kind of conventional way. It is neither cloying nor sentimentally saccharine. Instead delicately minimal, sometimes coldly austere instrumentation allows the music's inherent warmth and beauty to sensuously reveal itself. Barely there melodies wrap themselves around your heart leaving you gasping in admiration and awe as their ethereal prettiness threatens to leave you gasping no more. What are our conclusions? We live in a crazy world where cheese needs to be rebranded to combat the doom merchants. The fact is cheese has always been good and Mi and L'au are even better.