Mynabirds – Generals

January 01, 1970

(Saddle Creek)


After hearing
The Mynabirds debut, Laura Burhenn’s new band after the breakup of Georgie
James, a lot of fans realized they didn’t have to lament that indiepop group’s
demise. I didn’t care much. What We Lost
in the Fire We Gained in the Flood
was a superb collection or sweet
rock/pop tunes and southern soul (think Dusty
in Memphis
, at times).  Generals is Burhenn’s protest record
(apparently the title was taken from a Richard Avedon photo entitled “Generals
of the Daughters of the American Revolution.” In Burhenn’s mind, the women
standing up for what they believe wasn’t just the wealthy women posed in
Avedon’s photo, but women like Burhenn herself and millions of others who feel
just as strongly about truth, but might not be noticed). Generals has some gems of its own, but take a bit more digging to


Instead of being
lost in love, like on the debut, Burhenn seems angry, frustrated on Generals.  Once again she brings in Richard Swift to
produce, who is always a good choice for a band with a 60’s sound. If the
general theme on What We Lost… was
to bring people together to hold hands, well, on Generals , it seems as if the general consensus is to gather the
masses to rise up and fight (not unusual in these heady political/economic
times). Which is all well and good but truth be told, Burhenn fits the Dusty
mold much better than she does P.J. Harvey (who I’m occasionally reminded of on
this record).  The gentle guitar tones on
the debut have now been replaced by jagged edges and occasional minor chords. Opener
“Karma Debt” opens the door nice (with synths!) and the title track swings with
the best of them as does “Radiator Sister”, but cuts like “Wolf Mother” and
“Disaster” seem to get bogged down in their own quest for truth. She changes
gears, for the better, on the subtly gorgeous “Mightier than the Sword” as well
as on the (African?) rhythmic bounce of both “Body of Work” and “Disarm.” She
saves the lush soul for last as the two final cuts, “Buffalo Flower” and
“Greatest Revenge”, both in the vein of the debut and both lovely.


Burhenn wants us to feel, I felt the debut immediately. Generals took a bit longer, but I’m ready to join. I have two
questions: Where do I sign and can I borrow a pen?


DOWNLOAD: “Generals”, “Mightier Than the Sword”, “Buffalo Flower”,
“Greatest Revenge” TIM HINELY



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