Mirah You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This

Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn has decided to drop the latter three-quarters of her name and that brevity is reflected in much of her debut full-length album - she knows how to use language succinctly (yet playfully) but knows when to stop, too. And that is definitely one of her strong points. You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This reminds me a lot of the last few albums by Lisa Germano - the vocals are similar, but it also has that understated confessional feeling that Germano does so well. There's also a hint of Cat Power at times and the influence of many songstresses from days gone by show too, but for the most part Mirah's sound is her own. She manages to bypass clichés by using imaginative arrangements that beef up the sound when required, yet leave the subtlety of her voice in the foreground. Every so often you will find yourself longing for the wonderful antiquated sound that she manages to cook up with Phil Elvrum on "Sweepstake Prize," but the album does succeed in keeping its momentum over 16 songs. (K)