Mi & L'Au | Review

Yorkshire Eve Post (UK) | Janne Oinoen

It's refreshingly singular stuff

Sept 06

As Finland and France have so far failed to donate much of note to the annals of top-notch music, you'd be forgiven for presuming that a duo consisting of both nationalities would be a bit, well, rubbish.

You'd be dead wrong, for the self-titled debut of Mi & L'Au, who take to the stage at the Faversham on Sunday, proves an alluring addition to the bulging portfolio of wonky odd-folk. The Partnership was launched when the Finnish Mi met the French L'Au in Paris. The pair fell waist-deep in love and dropped the metropolitan clatter in favour of a cabin in the pure, unadulterated backwoods of Finland, where every minute not spent smooching was devoted to putting beguiling music on tape. You'd expect the results to drip with enough syrup and sickly sweet sugar to earn a warning sticker from the BDA. Instead, the hushed songs on Mi & L'au offer a frosty treat not unlike a musical equivalent of a slow stroll through wintry woods at night ­ unsettling, but beautiful nonetheless. It's refreshingly singular stuff, equal parts Devendra Banhart's finger picking whimsy (albeit with the psych-folk pixie's wobbly-voiced hippyisms replaced with some distinctly spooky styling's), traditional folk-blues classicism, haunting old-time laments and Tom Waits' fairground madrigals, whilst the sparse arrangements, which occasionally get delicate enough to toy with evaporating altogether, excel in otherworldly austerity befitting the secluded surroundings that inspired these tunes.

It'll be interesting to see how the two-some approach their material live, when the low-key orchestral splendour of the LP ­ guitars, violins, recorders, bells, whistles, organs, and various percussion tools get a look in ­must be reduced to something two pairs of hands can tackle. What's certain is that it'll be intriguing ­and less than intense in noisiness stakes, which makes this an ideal outing for heads still thumbing from the weekend's carousing.