The Mynabirds at The Islington
“Thank you for braving the tube strikes and coming here tonight”, Laura Burhenn, songwriter and singer of The Mynabirds, gratefully expresses. This is the first time the LA four-piece has played in London, despite being on the verge of releasing their third album, Love Knows. Burhenn is the multi-instrumentalist frontwoman, with influences from Kate Bush to motown, dressed in hippie-style draping arm sleeves and fully at ease tonight on The Islington’s small, cornered stage.
Slow, airy tracks Velveteen and Believer open up the set – the latter driven by a Kate Bush-style drum beat. It’s not until the marching General is blasted out (a song probably written after listening to These Boots Are Made for Walkin’) that the room’s modestly numbered crowd shows any veritable signs of movement, though it still doesn’t venture forward enough to even momentarily crack the respectful hemisphere of space surrounding the stage. Burhenn’s vocals are so strong (belying her petite nature) that they are honeyed and perfectly controlled on every tune. When she steps out from behind the protection of her keyboard, rattling a tambourine and moving her body in time, the sense that she and her band could comfortably hold the attention of much larger numbers is felt.
Mild confusion arises before the last song plays when the soundman, thinking the band has finished, turns on background music, which feels briefly exciting amongst the watchers on this mostly subdued night. When life is given to them with a song like Disarm, it is quickly taken away again by the haunting yet languid-leaning All My Heart. Towards the end, Numbers Don’t Lie (a song from their first album) is an absolute highlight, though it reaches back for a Carole King helping hand somewhere. Nevertheless, Burhenn’s sincere-sounding soul is on display for all to hear.
It’s clear that The Mynabirds has more than the potential to inspire, and that Burhenn is a talented songstress with an ear for angelic melodies and sensitive lyrics: “Am I real yet?” Hopefully they will achieve their potential soon.
Photos: Jeremy Davis
For further information about The Mynabirds and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Numbers Don’t Lie here: