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You can probably guess the basic theme of Miraís second album by its title, Apart, or at least by glimpsing at the desolate wintry-blue landscape depicted on the cover. Yes, itís a story of separation, whether it be a separation from someone else, from society, or perhaps from oneís own self. Itís also a story of loneliness, uncertainty, anxiety, and all the other factory diet goth emotions that seem to be plaguing the psyche of lead singer Regina Sosinski. Everything about the album echoes the title; even as intimate as the lyrics are, Sosinskiís ethereal voice backed by the icy guitars and hollow percussion seem to create a gap between music and listener.

Donít cry me a river just yet though. Or do--the beauty of empathy can bridge the gap and eventually lead to a rewarding listen, but you have to work for it on this album. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of listening to Apart is overcoming Sosinskiís airy vocals that seem to get lost and drown among the swirling guitar riffs and rainy melodies within. The lack of depth in her voice is slightly unnerving; itís almost as if you could pick the disc up and blow the words right off of it. But this is precisely what gives Mira its original sound.

The album opens up with the strongest track, "Space." What sounds like electronic flatulence garbles and gives way to determined drumming and an equally determined bass line. Enter Sosinski with a wash of watercolor vocals that seem anchorless with slight resignation and a little hope: feels like nothing has changed, maybe just rearranged, tomorrow will be different, new day new commitment. The guitar that comes in midway through the first verse hints at Joshua Tree U2, but then picks up a little crunch and punch for the chorus. A solid, powerful track.

"Going Nowhere" adds some fragility to the momentum started by the first song, but builds melodically into another icy guitar storm. I wonder if this is in fact what 80ís cool rock has evolved into. As heard in the delicate beginning of this song, Sosinskiís voice seems most effective when she restrains herself. Sometimes, however, her notes feel too perfect and unchanging, as in "Green" for example. You canít help but want her voice to crack and spill out some of the emotion that charges the beautifully introspective lyrics throughout the album. Perhaps one of the greatest moments on the album, then, comes almost midway through "Open In Silence" when a pensive guitar hesitates and then finally lets go with a quiet bellow, shrieking imperfectly in all the ways you had hoped Sosinski to.

The strength of Mira on this album lies in the song structure and the quality musicianship coming from each of the players. Melodically, Apart hits the emotional nail on the head, conveying layer upon layer of moodiness in ways words canít describe. Thereís a trace of Eastern influence in many of the tunes, as in "In Theory," when Sosinski hits that Indian blue note singing God I know it. Juliet Syís violin in "Plastique," one of the stronger tracks on the record, adds a classy touch to the albumís character. It sounds like music for a mild-mannered vampire.

Overall, Apart is a solid effort. Though Sosinskiís voice take some getting used to, there are plenty of emotional intricacies to be discovered within each song. Indeed, the record is a fine example of the delicate art of subtlety, even in its use of power guitar. For new listeners, this album is certainly worth a try, and for fans who enjoyed Miraís self-titled debut last year, Apart will not disappoint.

-Chris Yunt

Track Listing:

  1. Space
  2. Going Nowhere
  3. In Theory
  4. Green
  5. Open In Silence
  6. Stainless
  7. Plastique
  8. Tick Tock
  9. Miss
  10. Hollow

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