Lana Mir - Lana Mir
Record Label: Unfiltered Records
Release Date: Aug. 24, 2010
Like fine wine or film noir, Ukranian born singer-songwriter Lana Mir's self-titled debut album takes a bit of getting used to. In sum, the disc is a concise collection of 11, airy pop songs that are gauzy, languorous and thoroughly enchanting. With a foot comfortably ensconced in jazz, the disc coos and hums with few hiccups. Album opener "Say You Need Me," is sleepy and nocturnal borrowing much of its composition from 60s-style pop not unlike Francoise Hardy. She continues that sentiment on "Beautiful Day," and "To Be Wrong," but none of them really make a dent.
From there, Mir bumbles along sheepishly and unfortunately never puts her best foot forward. That is until fourth track "Summertime," when her sultry voice takes center stage and the song's vernal veneer enhances Andy Chase's warm production. The end result is a rich tapestry of solace, sensuality and seduction. And then as instantaneous as the flicking of a switch, the disc takes off. Mir tackles the Stone Roses classic "I Wanna Be Adored" with aplomb, while late night ballad "Tears Are Not Enough," reveals her penchant for tender, heart-on-sleeve admissions. Moving more like a prayer than that of a pop song, "Tears Are Not Enough," is a soft, soothing meditation on romantic confusion and coping with defeat.
The acoustic lilt of "These Days," employs spartan instrumentation which posits Mir's voice as the center point and the Ukrainian never disappoints. Artists that embrace minimalism and use it to their advantage will never meet a disgruntled critic and "These Days," proves exactly that. "We Started Something," attempts to up the sonic ante and moves along like a Carole King b-side. Confident, air-tight and gently affecting, it's glistening, timeless and deeply evocative "Believe in Me," is a standard lounge ballad that marks Mir's first hiccup since "To Be Wrong."
Like most of her compositions, it's finished in under four minutes, so all the moments of boredom are washed away almost immediately. "Goodbye Girl," uses a drum machine as a skeleton and allows the chanteuse to mine her own emotional depth unfortunately falls short. Sure she has the capacity to do so, but "Goodbye Girl," just doesn't fit the narrative at all. Album closer "Return," tries to borrow on the charm of "Summertime," but once again falls flat. The song's only redeeming consolation is that it borrows a vibe from the Tracey Thorn catalog and dives deep into jazz terrain.
That Mir's disc is so spotty is not really a terrible thing. After all, she's an immigrant making her debut record. Not everyone begins their career with virtuosity. That being said, this self-titled, though sedate and mildly plodding, is not a lost cause. Whether they end up on television or movies, the 11 songs offered here are destined to wind up on a big screen. There's a cinematic quality to every passing second. Brimming with emotion, these are feathery, all-consuming invitations to discover a girl and her pain. So sure it may not be overtly commercial or accessible, but heck, there are far worse things.