Miears, Who Will Save You?
One of the best things I can say about any album, and even more so for an EP, is that it felt like it went by too fast, that I wanted it to keep going. That’s where I am with Miears’ new Who Will Save You? EP; it’s alluring and lush and intense, and I just want to hear more of it, or at least the whole damn thing, over and over again.
The main reason, at the end of the day, is eponymous singer/instrumentalist (“keytarist” just sounds strange) Michelle Miears’ exquisite, gorgeous voice — that’s the draw for me, at least. I’ll be honest, here, and admit shamefacedly that I never really gave Miears’ “other” band, BLSHS, its due. No real concrete reason, other than my initial listens just kind of left me shrugging. The trio didn’t fully click, for me; it always felt like Miears’ voice was sort of shoehorned in on top of the music.
With Who Will Save You?, that’s decidedly not the case. The EP is built around Miears’ vocals, and that’s a damn, damn good thing, because given a chance to stretch out a bit, she’s freaking phenomenal. Listening, I can’t help but think of White Sea’s Morgan Kibby, particularly at Miears’ more operatic moments (see “Who Will Save You?” and “Cycle,” for two), but there’re also hints here and there of British singer Dido and trip-hop crew Portishead, neither of which is a bad thing.
On slow, languid opening track “Directional,” the pretty-yet-sinister electropop pulls you in without you even realizing it’s happening, and then shuttles you onwards to the faster, more skittering/danceable sound of “Reaching,” which is still dark and murky despite the club-sounding synths. My personal high point is actually the most dancey track here, “Echoes,” which again makes me think of White Sea; it also sounds just a bit like an excellently downtempo take on Anja’s “Crazy Little Thing,” a fact that makes me just a tad bit embarrassed. (What can I say? The little guy’s loved the damn song ever since we got Just Dance 4 for the Wii…)
Throughout, Miears drifts hauntingly along, beautiful but somehow menacing at the same time, with an undercurrent of melancholy and what sure sounds to me like anger, especially on the bitter samba of “He Never Loved Me”. It’s wonderfully downcast, but there’s still a bite to it; Miears may be down, but she’s certainly not out, and it feels like she’s signaling that yeah, she’ll be getting right back up again.
(Feature photo by Daniel Jackson.)