By Will Bateman (@WillBateman6611)
5.8.15, The Islington, London
The Islington is an intimate venue for any band making their debut appearance in the capital. The Mynabirds appear on stage amidst dim lights and red floor-to-ceiling curtains, singer-songwriter/pianist Laura Burhenn (who you might recognise from now-defunct Seattleites The Postal Service) exuding a playful and welcoming presence. The band seem genuinely grateful to their audience, Burhenn acknowledging the trials they must have endured to get to the show. “So you’re the brave ones, huh? Who braved the tube strike for us?”
Throughout the set they comfortably traverse genres and styles from atmospheric electro-pop a la Beach House, soulful Cat Power-style crooning, delicate melodies and high-tempo, country-tinged indie. Tonight’s performance is one of switching gears, and in this sense is rarely uninteresting, though it does make the Mynabirds’ sound and personality difficult to pin down. Thankfully each change in direction feels calculated while Burhenn’s consistently striking vocal and humble persona endear the band to their audience.
It’s taken three albums for the Mynabirds to make it to the UK; a long-overdue but well-earned trip across the pond. Their accessibility, likeability and musical variety is something rarely seen in the larger landscape of pop and, as debut shows go, tonight is a great introduction to their noise.