Mi and L'au | Review

Courier Journal/Louisville, Kentucky | Paul Curry

Love is kind

Saturday, January 21, 2006 
Special to The Courier-Journal

Mi and L'au are a husband and wife from Finland who took to writing and recording their strange little love songs while "isolated together in a cabin," according to the press blurb. There's a picture of a lovely little snow-covered cabin on the cover of the disc. There's another cabin picture on the back, but this one seems to have been taken in the springtime; everything looks damp and loamy.

Left to their devices, the couple have made a freaky, intimate collection of songs. Their voices are both clear and bright (she tends to whisper some; he tends toward Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen at times), and their accompaniment is initially traditional, relying primarily on acoustic guitar. But once we start catching the lyrics and the various production touches (bubbles, banjo, harmonica etc., most likely added during sessions in Brooklyn with Michael Gira, who is given credit as co-producer), we move into a realm that is as curious and strange as the giddiness of young lovers and as dark as the longest night in winter.

In "Christmas Soul," the female, Mi, is singing "Death will come to our funeral ... to take back, our bones ... our souls." The bleakness is undercut with a modest assertion that "Our bones shall breathe and dance." On "Study," the album's final track, she sings about studying "what's to come" as if it has already taken place. There are numerous references to marrying and the "belly," being a baby, waking up, and travel and watching. The cumulative effect is that these partners have seen their life's journey from beginning to end and have found a gloriousness amid their recognition of the cyclical nature of human life and love.