Mirah: The Old Days Feeling

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Mirah: <em>The Old Days Feeling</em>

Northwest chanteuse releases a mixed bag of rarities for lo-fi lovers

There’s a thin, pastel-colored line between sweet and saccharine, and Pacific Northwest-based songstress Mirah has toed it for over 10 years now. Her particular sonic brand of lo-fi intimacies and unabashed (often libidinous) confessions tends either to melt its way into weepy hearts or to nettle those with less mawkish sensibilities.

Along these lines, the rare and unreleased tracks that make up The Old Days Feeling don’t reveal anything astonishing—except that the songs here are even lower-fi and more unabashed than much of what has appeared on Mirah’s three full-lengths. And as a windfall of such songs for fans, there are certainly reasons to rejoice: “The Sun” starts small but grows into a rich choral anthem; “Don’t!” delights as an unfailingly catchy doo-wop tune; “Location Temporary” aches and echoes through its minute-long lifespan.

But what’s most interesting about The Old Days Feeling is what’s thrown into relief by its less winsome moments. At times, Mirah’s quirks distract and detract, as with the exceptionally forthright lyrics on “Dreamboat” (“Hey, how about some of that lubrication / ‘cause this motor’s getting ready for some fornication.”) and the over-exposed, squeaking guitar slides on “Lone Star.” What could be charming, in such cases, winds up feeling coy and cloying instead.

In the end, Feeling shows just how delicate the balances are that Mirah is capable of striking, and how fine-tuned a song’s mechanics must be in order for it to work properly. It does so, however, more as an archival study of Mirah’s craft than by proving the point itself.