Mi and L'au | Review | Alan Davidson

I'd suggest you make tomorrow the day you nip out and buy this CD!


Last summer I had the very great pleasure of seeing Mi and L'au on tour with Josephine Foster. The audience was extremely quiet and respectful, almost to the point of being mesmerised, and when the first song ended the duo quickly began the next, without applause. Having accepted this as the natural course of events, the same thing happened after every song!

Apparently Mi and L'au were becoming increasingly worried that the audience didn't like them, but the thunderous applause and standing ovation that followed their last number must have set their minds at rest. This release almost has the same certainly arrests attention, almost whispering in the listener's ear. Much of the sound is sparse, and, appropriately enough the bones of the album were put together in a small isolated cabin in Finland, where the pair live. There is a feeling of slowly thawing sexuality, and small lights in empty darkness. Additional instrumentation was added by members of Akron/Family and Antony and the Johnsons, and it's been done tastefully, allowing the songs plenty of room to breathe. The album would have sounded fine without overdubs, in my opinion, but the variety of sound provided makes for a slightly more reassuring listen. On 'Older' the sound of hands sliding to make chords cuts through the wash of strings very nicely, maintaining the song's intimacy.

The lyrical content echoes that of the music...simple, sometimes repetitive phrases, but always intriguing! "Will they find us naked white or red?" sing the duo on "Burns", and often the album feels as if the pair are lost in their own dream-landscape, divorced from everyday mundanity, but somehow still within the grasp of danger. If I'm waxing overly lyrical, then that's the effect Mi and L'au have on me! There are many exquisite moments here...right from the start, on 'They Marry' when Mi's vocal swells into ever so slightly out-of-synch double tracking, and on 'I've been watching you' when L'au intones phrases whilst behind him guitar chords gently descend. My favourite song here (as it was live) is 'Merry-Go Round' ("here's a bottle of wine, here is my lick"), but there's not a dud song here. The (almost) last words on the album are 'What's to come of tomorrow, what's been done with today...make tomorrow what's to come...make tomorrow'.....I'd suggest you make tomorrow the day you nip out and buy this CD!