Having read some other reviews of Mimi Page‘s work that compared her to the likes of Fiona Apple, I was a bit concerned approaching her debut LP Breathe Me In. I guess the trip-hop crowd is knowingly so hungry for the new quality sounds that upon hearing one randomly inserted electronic bleep on any female singer-songwriter pop-album they readily and happily tag it as “trip-hop” (remember Dido?). But all my concerns disappeared (very quickly) into thin air. Or, rather, a crystal clear and full of pre-storm electric charge air of Breathe Me In. “There’s a darkness that adores me” sings Mimi Page in the opening of “Black Valentine” and pounding, almost industrial beat and anxious piano illustrate that darkness with cinematic perfection. Breathe Me In is an electronica album (I’ll leave further unnecessary classification to whoever enjoys such things) – beats and loops are not only plentiful, they are also thoughtful and purposeful. Even though they never quite develop into primary vehicle for the album. Which they aren’t. Because Breathe Me In is an album by Mimi Page the singer-songwriter, not Mimi Page the DJ. The primary vehicle of the album is Mimi Page. Just the combination of her exceptional voice and piano would be enough to make a very good record (check out “Jigsaw” for example), but the clever use of electronica really makes is stand out and makes Breathe Me In approachable to the audiences that include… well, me, for instance, who doesn’t mind the female singer-songwriting in general (I wonder if there is a shorter and less chauvinistic-sounding title for that genre), but would never spend time browsing copious new names and releases in that category. Don’t get me wrong though, – I’m not saying that electronica is used here as some sort of artificial flavoring, to make the candy sweeter to downtempo kids. See above – plentiful, thoughtful and purposeful. “Colorblind” (not a Counting Crows cover – even though, ironically, there is not one but two songs on the album that bring that “Colorblind” to mind) is based on progressing glitchy beat sharpened with echoing piano. In “This Fire” (one of my favorite tracks on the album that demonstrates that perfect balance of songwriting and electronica) the piano is muted to make room for powerful duo of beat and vocals. And the title track, which closes the album, features some very intriguing exotic strings (as well as other instruments which I, being a total dilletante in music production, cannot identify) that put some colorful and intricate ornament on the canvas of Mimi Page‘s vocals. It’s a very good conclusion to the album – on one hand it reflects both the complicated beauty and effortlessness of the album. On the other hand it gives us a peek at some new and exciting things that Mimi Page has in stock and that will surely shine on the following releases (which I personally am looking forward to).
You can listen to some of the tracks from Breathe Me In (as well as to her excellent and very successful A Lullaby For The Lonely EP) on Mimi Page Soundcloud profile. The album is scheduled to be released in Winter 2012. Check out www.mimipage.com for the updates.
R.I.Y.L. Tori Amos, Dot Allison, kites
personal favs: “This Fire”, “Black Valentine”, “Breathe Me In”