fri 21/06/2024

Album: Mitski - The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Mitski - The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We

Album: Mitski - The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We

The singer-songwriter explore loneliness, love, and longing through rural aesthetics

With 2022’s Laurel Hell and Be The Cowboy from 2018, the Japanese-American solo musician Mitski Mayawaki – better known simply as Mitski to all – had refined a massively Eighties influenced, synthesiser led sound.

Having combined the invaluable songwriting experience of her earlier, more frenetic and indie lo-fi albums, her most recent two efforts were creatively elaborate and thematically whole.

This has continued to drive her forwards, returning with her seventh album The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We. Once again she employs a wholly different sound, yet retains the crux of her previous studio outings: she’s adorned an acoustic-driven, country sound, built around narratives of loneliness, love, and longing.

Opener “Bug Like An Angel” begins with gentle chords, and Mitski’s clear, powerful vocals, seemingly drowning a sorrow or two. She remarks on an unfortunate bug squished under her glass looking like an angel. It’s a lyric and song title that seems off the cuff, but is a profound observation of finding the remarkable in the most unlikely places.

What follows is another moment of compelling contrasts – Mitski continues to sink a few in this tale, regaling how she found alcohol as she got older, commenting “sometimes a drink feels like family”. Then, a chorus joins her on a one word refrain of “family”. A simple moment, but entirely compelling and encapsulates what is to come on The Land.

Mitski uses the rural aesthetic to evoke her sense of yearning for somewhere to belong, so deeply, it haunts this landscape she paints. “Buffalo Replaced” evokes the classic image of the frontier, and its freedom, becoming lost to the confines of civilisation. Or “Heaven”, which detours through country into orchestral instrumentation offering space and calm, unlike “I Love Me After You” which lingers in ominous tones.

The emotional peaks are numerous, from “I Don’t Like My Mind” and how she ties her mental health to her work, to “The Frost” which eerily compares a home after a breakup to a post-apocalyptic landscape. The land here is bleak and sorrowful, yet it is beautiful as it is compelling and relatable.

The land here is bleak and sorrowful, yet it is beautiful as it is compelling and relatable

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Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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