If someone told you Understanding is the first record by a new artist, discovered by Sub Pop on Youtube just a few months ago, you would probably believe it without so much as a blink. Mirah’s sixth album is imbued with that kind of artistic freshness and a sort of subtle urgency that is easily mistakable as a debut album.
This tells much of the longevity of Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn’s inspiration and of her artistic talent, but it must be said that there is an obvious attempt at releasing a fully ‘contemporary’ songwriting album, as the slightly idiosyncratic single ‘Ordinary Day’ confesses (tUne-yArDs producer Eli Crews is collaborating here). You can find Beach House’s dreamy signature in the synthetic arrangement of the other single, ‘Hot Hot’. Or the maritime, 60s pop of Tennis in ‘Love Jetty’ and ‘Lighthouse’. But the raw necessity of songwriting is very much what drives Mirah, again (‘Energy’), and Understanding can be a reference for those new artists seeking to enter the new 90s revival (‘Information’ sounds like Aimee Mann in those times).
Beyond the ever-changing and surprising arrangements, there is a strong, classical melodic anchor, expressed at its finest in the Fleetwood Mac velvet melancholy of ‘Sundial’. Understanding remains first and foremost an album of songs, without flights of fancy. There are indeed some very distinct emotional signatures, balanced between the destabilizing urges of ‘Counting’ and ‘Lake/Ocean’ and the tenderness of ‘Blinded By The Pretty Light’, that correspond to the production style and arrangement choices of the record. A subtle, unobtrusive but gratifying record.
Words: Lorenzo Righetto