Having worked together under the guise of Audrey alongside Anna Tomlin and Rebecka Kristiannson, Emilie Molin and Victoria Skoglund have long been musical partners since the Swedish band’s formation back in 2002.
The now duo have released their debut EP Fortress, a collection of five songs, with opener ‘Sea Monster’ being “one of the the first [they] did together under the [new] name Mire Kay…it’s always special to ‘release’ songs from the sketch book” they state of the EP’s European release.
For those familiar with the darkly melodic and string laced compositions of the underground four-piece Audrey, Molin and Skoglund’s new material as Mire Kay comes after what feels a very long wait, with Audrey’s last album The Fierce and the Longing released back in 2008. Their latest reincarnation still retains their core sound, but the clouds have parted slightly to reveal a musical style which while distinctly theirs; treads a more mature path, and too encapsulates their folkier side in many respects.
Recorded over four days at the Kepner Treg studio in Gothenburg with an assortment of friends offering instrumental and vocal assistance, Fortress comprises five songs, tied neatly together with chamber pop arrangements, ethereal vocals and dark often mythical lyrics. The opening track ‘Sea Monster‘ is a murky fairytale of a mythical sea creature combining intricate percussive sounds with acoustic guitar. “Wild horses took me over the ocean to a place where I could be myself” they sing over singular guitar plucked chords and deep vibrato cello of ‘So You Learned’, transporting their sound to a place darkly picturesque, cinematic and at one with nature, as animals and the elements find a place within the recordings.
These songs are built out of rich images and hollow, natural sounds which, layer upon layer, create a warmth out of their often sombre subject matters of longing and searching. Touches of Laura Veirs mark themselves in the instrumentation, vocal utterances and banjo pickings, but this is all a sound Audrey and Mire Kay musicians and songwriters Emelie Molin and Victoria Skoglund have experimented and built upon during their decade long careers.
Once again the Scandinavians prove themselves unsurmountable in their ability to conjour a consistently melancholic sound, both as haunting as it is hopeful.
Review by Melanie McGovern