Mirah emerged on the musical stratosphere as a bedroom folk singer with a knack for melody. She’d use grungy half-chords with easy patterns but somehow make something magical, unusual, and all her own out of it. The songs had a scrappy feel, like she preciously saved all of her busking change to record it. That all happened maybe fifteen years ago, and she’s matured a lot since then.
Her latest release, A Changing Light, has a different signature sound. Mirah has found confidence in utilizing sophisticated recording techniques. No longer fuzzy, the sounds come at you with purity. Unspotted, the album has none of that charming amateur aesthetic her previous albums displayed. The old style had such panache — it’s hard not to miss it — but the new Mirah has a pull its own.
A Changing Light has great moments. “24th Street” has her signature use of half-chords in elegant patterns. She employs Feist-like falsetto moments and her lyrics have energy and conviction. The song twists and continues to unfold, displaying highly cultivated, professional song-crafting. This is no amateur at work, and Mirah shows she can succeed in a more mature style.
“Turned the Heat Off” has a memorable melody that immediately shines. “Goat Shepherd” has a wonderful use of silence before Mirah punches into a great guitar-drums duet. Mirah always had wonderful touch and she displays it across this album. A Changing Light has countless moments of ingenuity — little signatures of a true artist all over the tracks.
The album also has unexpected variety. On first listen, A Changing Light seems to have a certain homogeneity, but repeated listens reveal distinct differences between the tracks. Mirah has reached a sophisticated plane as an artist, and her talents do not immediately bleed out to casual listeners anymore. Like she’s moved past the easy techniques, her songs now have a complicated intricacy that takes a few listens to reach.
The album confidently ends at ten tracks. While her more amateur albums often had over fifteen tracks, she knows it would be overkill here. The songs on A Changing Light come densely packed — often feeling like they have multiple songs within the one song – ten is already a lot. Fans of the old Mirah will find certain moments that remind of her charmingly amateur past, but it’s pretty clear that she’s now found a new sonic place.