Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Album review: MIREL WAGNER - When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day

Highlights: 1 2 3 4, Oak Tree, The Devil’s Tongue, Taller Than Tall Trees


“1 2 3 4, what’s underneath the floor”, it is almost too simple. These ten songs sound like nursery rhymes delivered by way of acoustic guitars, haunting vocals, dark vibes and dust. When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day is a perfect title.

Mirel Wagner is a unique case of an Ethiopian artist living in Norway and singing in English. I’m not sure how that translates into music, but you could argue that this album is as cozy as Scandinavia and as otherworldly and mysterious as an African tribe.

Basically – striking, unadorned folk music, full of child-like wonder and grim undertones. I can see why Mojo gave it five stars. Every song features disarmingly simple vocal melodies and Mirel strumming the acoustic guitar. There’s also a bit of piano (closing “Goodbye”), but mostly she does not stray from the winning formula. Her style is irresistible, and she never overstays her welcome. “Taller Than Tall Trees” is actually five minutes long, but you won’t even notice it. Elsewhere: “Oak Tree” is a song of the year, and “The Dirt” could have been done by early Timber Timbre. Which is of course meant as a compliment. 

“I got a big big heart and lots of love”. You should hear the chilling, spine-tingling intonations her voice does. When The Cellar Children… is a lot like her debut from 2011, and that’s the way to go for Mirel Wagner. Her talent is both raw and well-honed. I don’t think she should change. I don’t think she will.

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