The bad news barraging our culture at mid-decade encourages a lot of looking inward for comfort, of finding solace in romantic escape. Vashti Bunyans recent return to recording is no surprise; her placid folk music is a healing salve for our collective social wounds. Mi & lAus self-titled debut isnt as powerful as the Bunyan reissues or this years Lookaftering. But the Finnish-French couples skeletal indie folk bliss contributes to that shift toward escapism. Their backstory includes tales of halfhearted modeling, wandering through Paris, busking with Devendra, and retreating to forest cabins where they bliss out in love-dipped solitude. It all seems a little too perfect, too New Hippie, and Mi & lAus basic format of a monotonal female whisper floating over twining acoustic notes and the occasional cello, coed vocal or toy piano overdub runs flat when the songs lose their buoyant center. But theres no denying the hushed, retreating beauty in How, Nude, Philosopher and Boxer, or the duos understanding that theres safety in simplicity. Mi & lAus influences and peers (Bunyan, Espers, Joanna Newsom) have made more affecting music. But this debut is important as another quiet salvo against the worlds constant ugly blare.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.