Shirin from Mothburner kindly sent me 2 demo CDs, divided into loud and quiet songs. She and her partner Finn have been working as Mothburner for about a decade now.
I found it quite difficult to categorise their music but that could be becase I don't listen to enough bands that sound like Mothburner. If indeed there are any other bands that sound like Mothburner because I do think they have an uncommon sound. Shirin has an amazingly beautiful voice, it is very pure and high with a vibrato effect (which I liked but might not be to everyone's taste) which does remind me of choral or classical music. But then Finn's musical backing echoes the lighter end of Goth like All About Eve or The Cocteau Twins and the occasionally strong drumbeats remind me a bit of Celtic folk like Clannad. The music acts as the perfect setting for Shirin's voice, allowing it to take centre stage without over-dominating the songs. The loud songs weren't that much different to the quiet songs in terms of tempo, they just had slightly heavier beats and more prominent drums which worked well on songs like Polly The One or My Little Girl Come HOme and shows some variety in their styles.
Some music can only come from a certain place (I would say Cristina's album reviewed elsewhere in this issue was very much a product of 1980s New York) and so Mothburner perfectly evoke the isolated beauty of their surrounding Cornish coastline. This mood of fragile perfection is further epitomised by an absolutely stunning cover version of Acker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore (an old jazz standard).
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN OCTOBER 2005.
NOTE: Mothburner have now split up. They do still have a My Space but it hasn't been updated in ages.