Album Review | Anna Mieke Conjures Up A Mystical World On Theatre

The second album from Anna Mieke is both concise and sprawling.

Concise in that it is a mere eight tracks long; sprawling in that only two of those tracks are less than five minutes, and one is nearly eight. Theatre opens with the gentle but insistent folk of ‘Twin’. On the track, Mieke sings “linger if you will, we are strangers, still”, and upon that invitation, linger you will.

Despite a release date that is firmly in winter, Theatre feels somewhere in between changing seasons. On the album’s lead single ‘Mannequin’, spiraling strings conjure a gentle breeze with a tropical warmth to the music. Elsewhere, the layered voices of ‘Corraline’ are siren-esque, inviting the listener to plunge into a crystal clear ice-cold stream. ‘For A Time’ explores more menacing territory with tension building over the course of the track, begging to be released.

Mieke lists her influences as ranging from Talking Heads to Brazilian dance music. One might listen to ‘Twin’ or ‘For a Time’ and hear whispers of Sinead O’Connor’s The Lion and the Cobra. ‘Salt’ might bring Fleet Foxes to mind. Such is the nature of alt-folk, the genre in which Theatre could be placed. If you hold a seashell to your ear, you might just hear the sea.

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Lyrically, Theatre is fantastical. Fairytale motifs and dreams loom large and threaten to consume.

Can you live in two places at once? Mieke is from Wicklow, a place that is enveloped by the cold and the dark in winter, but the imagined world Mieke conjures on Theatre feels just as real.

An alternate reality, but not as you might think of one. This place is temperate, rhythmic, mystical.

For all its ambiguities, this place is safe.

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