(Saddle Creek Records)
Rating: ★★★☆ (find out how we rate albums)
The Mynabirds’ debut album, “What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood,” was all soul-singing and heart-wringing. Many songs were about moving forward and moving on from a relationship (possibly the working one The Mynabirds’ Laura Burhenn ended with her Georgie James bandmate John Davis).
“Generals” is a political album, a call to arms to Burhenn’s “generals, my daughters, my revolutionists” as she sings in the title track. There’s a lot of frustration directed at war, sexism and the general state of the world.
She’s calling for us to love, not fight. To think, not just do what we’re told. And Burhenn does it mostly without resorting to cliche that many protest albums wallow in.
Musically, the album is a stripped-down style of rock and blues full of reverb and spartan percussion with much of the soul-singing that Burhenn’s voice is well-suited for, though she doesn’t always resort to that.
Burhenn’s voice — always spectacular — shines here once again though she doesn’t quite have so many opportunities on “Generals” to belt out vocal parts as she did on “Flood.”
Most of the album is spectacular — The Mynabirds’ release is sure to be the biggest up-and-comer on the Saddle Creek roster this year — but a few tracks (“Mightier Than the Sword,” “Greatest Revenge”) fall short for me and don’t quite fit the rest of the record.
Listen to these: “Body of Work,” “Generals”
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Today on IFC’s website, the band debuted its video for “Generals.” Watch four Saddle Creek staffers play characters in a “Mad Men” meets “Pulp Fiction” redux while Laura Burhenn plays with an all-female band (not her actual touring band, you should know).
On Friday, the band plays its album release show at Slowdown with Jake Bellows and Honeybee & Hers. It’s only $5 at the door and is part of Slowdown’s 5th birthday weekend.
There’s a private event Thursday, The Mynabirds on Friday and show on Saturday with Howard, Lightning Bug and Family Picnic.