Mi and L'au | Review

Skyscraper magazine | Michael Meade

hushed vocals, ringing keyboards, with an occasional modish tweak

Feb/March 06

Mi and L'au CD ­ Young God

Finespun as the gently sifting snow, Mi and L'au's debut recording deftly distills folk tradition to an absorbing modern austerity, an update, perhaps, on Kalevala rune songs. Michael Gira's latest acoustic find is far removed from Devendra Banhart's dewy-eyed field of fancy, although Banhart and L'au have played together. Mi and L'au's songs ache with intangible pains; they spring from an ancient racial memory of sorrow, while working at unloading that burden. These fourteen tracks step slowly, testing an uncertain path, but usually find the mark. They are economic constructs of acoustic guitar, hushed vocals, ringing keyboards, with an occasional modish tweak. 'Older' is a languid rumination, floating on Mi's voice and sighing strings. Other highlights include the exquisite 'A Word in Your Belly' (which marries L'au's breaking vocal to a violin hanging dreamlike in the ether) and the spare Low like crawl of 'How.' Recluses, L'au, an emigre from Paris, and Mi, the Finn model, the couple inhabit an isolated cabin where they hone their work in the Finnish countryside, harboring in Helsinki only during the harshness of the Scandinavian winter. This recording is testament to that lifestyle: Norse gothic. As their press photo would have it, Mi and L'au is an intimate, uncomplicated, uncommonly beautiful album, and just a touch creepy.