Rhubarb Bomb has loved Mi Mye for a long, long time. We love the way the band has grown and developed over the years and across the course of some fine and memorable records. Yet we can place our hand on our hearts and say they’ve never been better than they are right now. They seem to be picking up an awful lot of new fans at the moment, which is much deserved, so with potential newcomers in mind, we’ve picked ten of their best.
“I’m Dreaming Of A”
We start with the most recent track, the band’s Christmas 2016 release (by the way, this is a band with ALOT of Christmas songs). But this was something of a breakthrough. Musically, it followed the lush beauty of their 2016 album “The Sympathy Sigh” and built on that success. It produced a great press quote:
“Reminiscent of the work of Sparklehorse and Bright Eyes. Think wedding band at the end of a long night playing to a few last stragglers (in the best possible way)” – Killing Moon
Which is meaningful, not only to me because they did play at my wedding, but gives an idea of the ambience of the yawning melancholy / beauty at the heart of many Mi Mye songs.
Jumping right back to their debut album, we come to one of the band’s poppiest moments. In their early days Mi Mye contained all kinds of people, both on record and live, including members of The Research and Forward Russia. Later versions of the band performed stripped down versions of this sublime track, but this full on assualt of noise and violin is really rather special and uplifting in a way only a Mi Mye track can be.
I Think Everything Is Going To Be Fine
From their most recent album, I Think Everything Is Going To Be Fine stood out as soon as it was played live as a beautiful track. Hypnotic drumming guides us through a subtle but lush production. Between 2 Sunrises and I Think Everything Is Going To Be Fine, the band stripped back to a three piece and then slowly built itself back up to the current five piece. It’s incredibly pleasurable to see this larger version of the band produce something so delicate and intricate, melody and invention replacing noise (though there’s nothing wrong with noise).
Sometimes Life’s Cool
The title track of a brilliant and, at the time, the most accomplished Mi Mye album. Released in the aftermath of the Long Division Live Album (more on that shortly) it took the core three piece band but added in some studio production invention. Largely removing the usual twanging guitar and traditional fiddle sounds, we have a track built predominantly around keys, both electronic and acoustic. It’s worth hearing the live version of this track, which predates it, to give you an idea how much a song can change in the studio, yet both are great.
Delighted In Him (Live)
A choice cut from the first ever Long Division Live Album. The ambitious and unique process of the live album saw the band strip back to a basic three piece and at the time it felt revolutionary for the band. The simple beauty of the songs came through like never before and felt like a vital reinvention for the band going forward. Despite the melancholy of the track, the laughter at the start of the track and the cheers at the end also give note to the charm of Mi Mye as performers. Oh, and I think this is kind of a Christmas song too.
Another of Mi Mye’s cracking pop singles, and soundtrack to the Long Division Official Film in 2015. Mi Mye albums revel in their idiosyncrasies and in their variety. Part of me has always wished they would release an album made purely of short sharp pop hits such as this but then, if they did, we’d miss out on so much more. Still, this is wonderful and when Mi Mye hit POP, there’s nothing quite so joyous and communally uplifting.
Way back to the very early days of Mi Mye now, via this single from Trash Aesthetics. Everything and the kitchen sink is thrown into this buoyant, skipping track that feels like a melting pot of Wakefield music towards the end of the last decade. Compared to the current Mi Mye material, it almost feels like an early pre-fame basement demo, and though that does it great disservice, therein also lies it’s charm.
The Sympathy Sigh
Surprisingly not a single, this is my personal favourite from their most recent album. It combines the great underplayed skill of the current band, with Jamie’s classic fiddle work and the more stripped back three piece songwriting style of the live album. AND it has a great chorus that is simultaneously a sigh and a smile.
When I Wake Up
Another irresistible and bouncing tune in classic Mi Mye style that unexpectedly descends into bleak hole in the second half, culminating in ‘that was the most miserable hour of my life’. But it still has a joke in it, so it’s all good. Like many Mi Mye songs, it focuses on the minute details not just of life, but of ourselves; breathing, blinking, sleeping.
Let’s end where we started; Christmas. At least, I think this is a Christmas song. Once again it is about sleeping and waking up – does Jamie write all his songs in bed? The version in the Spotify playlist is from their debut album, but you can track down an earlier version here, which appeared on the Rhubarb Bomb Christmas EP an awful long time ago. That might have been the first time I was really aware of Mi Mye, so is a great way to close things out.
You can follow Mi Mye on Spotify via the above playlist, or find them on Facebook here.