The dreamy pop of “They Marry” shows Mi and L’Au as masters of atmosphere. While the track sounds outwardly positive, the flute and other incident instruments present on the track gives the song a darker feeling. The meandering flow of “Philosopher” uses repletion to drive home a simplistic, yet overall catchy melody to Mi and L’Au’s listener base. This repetition would be a key problem for practically any other act to try it, but this type of guitar drone present on a majority of Mi and L’Au’s tracks (especially noticeable during “I’ve Been Watching You” is a well-welcomed hallmark of the band. The groove that the act gets into during “Watching You” is enough to allow the track to crossover into the dance sphere in much the same way that acts like The Postal Service have in the past.
The thin tendrils of music that bolster L’au during “Older” are indicative of the disc at large; the vocals are the main focus of the disc, while the instrumentation (while interesting and always innovative – just listen to the Italian-like guitar work present on “Merry Go Round) is primarily incidental. The ability of the act to create fourteen tracks that never fail to bring a sense of near-perfect cohesion to listeners is another of Mi and L’Au’s strong points. By keeping the average track on this album near three minutes, individuals will not be turned off by too expansive and experimental tracks; while the music captured within is not as musically rote as bar-chord bands, there is a certain attractiveness to the straight-forward indie music that Mi and L’Au play.
The pensive arrangements that dominate during the run-time of “Andy” (Cabic?) show a desire by the act to experiment with different sounds and force listeners to go out on a limb. The staggered sound of the instrumentation on the track really creates different emphases to the vocals, and changes up what individuals will expect for the act. Opening “Christmas Soul” with an arrangement that sounds almost as if “Dummy”-era Portishead mixed with the spasms of Bjork, Mi and L’Au bring a deeper, more earthy sound to the forefront that had not previously been heard on the disc. Mi and L’Au are able to create an album here that can use things as different as bubbles being blown (during “New Born Child”) and still find themselves able to subservient what would normally be taken as an odd aberration on the disc to something that ultimately fits, and fits well.
Top Tracks: They Marry, Nude
Mi and L’Au – S/T / 2005 Young God Records / 14 Tracks / http://www.younggodrecords.com / Reviewed 18 August 2005