With an array of styles ranging from high lonesome country to post-rock to some kind of child-like cooing, The Old Days Feeling collects unreleased and older material by the Washington-based singer Mirah. And for the most part, she maintains an edge that gives these tracks their power. They are intimate without being abstract, fun without being smug.
Her take on pop is jarring, using its melodic focus and adding in disorienting vocals and musical tangents that move the tunes far beyond pop. The dominant piano on “Lonesome Sundown” almost drowns out the vocals; a ukulele provides the main engine for “Dreamboat.” “Heat Gets Hotter,” one of the songs where the vocals are at their most potentially grating, is saved by oddly timed ambient effects. “The Sun” and “Take Me Out Riding” build from sparse to grand, the intricacies of melody giving an epic feel.
As is apparent on The Old Days Feeling, Mirah’s muse takes her into many different directions and is hard to pin down. This collection of rarities is a window into the mind of a restless but inspired talent. She isn’t for everyone, but she is a break from safe.