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Word of advice: Get Mirah's Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee is Mirah’s most recent release on K Records. Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn, who goes simply by Mirah, will soon move to Portland from Olympia, and will surely claim her spot in the indie/folk/pop scene here.

Mirah's Advisory Committee

Mirah recently performed at a packed room at a house party in northeast Portland, and although many describe her as having a sexy little-girl voice, it seemed that no one was wiser than Mirah, singing to her adoring pupils as everyone sat cross-legged on the floor, listening and looking up at her in awe. It’s not that her songs are preachy, but more like the confidence and clarity which she possesses onstage couldn’t help but assure her position on a pedestal

Advisory Committee’s production is jam-packed with innovative instrumentation—full orchestral sounds throughout the record such as on “Cold Cold Water,” “Mt. St. Helens,” and the title track make the album a sonic work of art, raw and inspired. “Cold Cold Water” begins the album with a dramatic entrance the Ennio Morricone could envy — the rushing in of timpani and choruses of violins, and far away background vocals “spaghetti western” style give way to an indie-rock distorted guitar and simple melody during these verses; these two aesthetics alternate throughout the song. Although it could be said that Mirah’s simple, unaffected vocal style on this tune is a little out of place with the rest of the drama, she proves that she is no one-trick pony as she sports a sophisticated vibrato and becomes the seasoned chanteuse on tracks such as “Light the Match,” a sexy tango with provocative accordion and violin.

She and her production partner, Phil Elvrum of the Microphones, did a smashing job on the album’s title track, “Advisory Committee.” After they’ve primed you with a simple Bob Marley style guitar-picking introduction, they come crashing in with a glorious soundscape of steel pans, distorted drum sets, and vocal harmonies advising you to “listen for the sound, and feel it shaking underground.”

“Apples in the Trees” is a more pared-down distorted guitar and drums rock song that reminds us “there are apples in the trees, let’s take all that we don’t have to wait until you die” and “you think you got some raw-end deal, what a way to compromise, it’s a long long wait before you get to claim that final prize.” Her lyrics are uplifting without being corny. They are inspiring, sexy, cosmic, and also down-to-earth, but steer clear of sappiness or overt “coolness.” On “The Sun,” the glockenspiel and cascading guitar licks “cut through the gravity” to create a fairytale atmosphere. Picture a musicbox in which a pretty figurine spins slowly and delicately inside, moving slower and slower, gathering energy until Mirah breaks the spell, ecstatically reminding us that “I am the sun, and the only one, I’ll pull you to me, the moon and the sea, when the oxygen comes and blows it all clean, remember to breathe, remember to breat.” The delicate little musicbox figurine transcents into a soaring phoenix—a door is opened to the outside where there are birds chirping and the sounds of a beautiful sunny day remind you—remember to breathe. Advisory Committee is a breath of fresh air.

Lauren Orton is a songwriter and freelance writer. Recently here from Austin, Texas, she now happily lives in central southeast Portland.


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Last Updated: April 14, 2003