Anyone who has not paid attention to Laura Burhenn’s progression over the last decade has missed a fanciful evolution in sound and attitude. After releasing two albums of well written and performed (if somewhat typical) singer-songwriter piano ballads, Burhenn got a leg up on the indie pop game when she paired with ex-Q and Not U drummer John Davis to form the quirky indie-pop duo Georgie James. The duo didn’t last long after releasing their acclaimed Saddle Creek release, Places, but the work, for both members, established a newly sparkling and sophisticated contribution to indie pop.
However, Burhenn did not truly step into a noticeable lead role until What We Lose In The Fire We Gain In The Flood, her 2010 debut with The Mynabirds. That album was a folk-centric contribution to Saddle Creek’s line up of surreal Americana (Bright Eyes, Azure Ray, etc.). What We Lose was heartfelt, painful and honest, yet straightforward enough to be as accessible to a pop audience as it was to Saddle Creek faithful.
On Generals, Burhenn takes one step further into her successful solo career, this time putting down the folk chops in favor of a modern blues a la Florence Welch or Adele. However, make no mistake in labeling Generals as one capitalizing on a fashionable aesthetic. Clocking in at less than 37 minutes, this sophomore effort explores moods dark and light, mixing Burhenn’s deep alto with steady grooves that combine heavy synthesizers and stark pianos with a brilliant rhythm section.
As with most albums, a few songs stand out a bit more than others, but as a whole, the album resonates quite well and warrants many repeat listens. Check out the title track, and if you dig the groove, give Burhenn’s latest a spin. If you’re a longtime fan, you’ll fall in love with her new digs, but if you’re simply a fan of any of the albums below, it’s a good introduction to a splendidly talented singer/songwriter.
Stream: Mynabirds – “Generals”