8.5 out of 10
A few years back, OK a lot maybe, I went to a small/hole-in-the-wall bar to go see Mi & L'au play, they sounded gorgeous and delicate just like their album/I was hoping. Unfortunately:( it was a bar filled with people that didn't even know who the band was and could care less. I've always held a little discontent towards the bar crowd ever since.. Ever seen the movie Ghost World? It's (the show I went to) like that scene where they go to the bar to listen to some obscure Blues musician and are distracted the entire time by loud bar douche bags (hopefully you're not one of these a$$#0les)! So annoying.. ::ahem:: Anywaaays, Mi & L'au used to be on on Young God Records, at the time/currently I sought after every release on that label and when Mi & L'au's debut came out I could pick a favorite (well, other than a few Swans releases of course;). Their sound fit well with the YG family, a little "bizarre (not really though) meets contemporary fire side folk lore". The story goes like this, they meet, they fall in love, they decide to leave civilization and hide out in a deserted cabin in the middle of the woods, and then they begin writing music. It really is a masterpiece as far as Folk music goes, listen to "A Word In Your Belly" and tell me you're not swooned.
Flash forward a couple albums later (the one in between being awesome too) and the duo are back with something a bit "different". 'If Beauty Is A Crime' takes Mi & L'au's acoustic nature and flips it inside out onto a digital screen. That's right, this time around they've decided to write an album with only the help of a computer, which may sound common these days, but to know M & L you could understand how this may seem a bit "out of place" or perhaps blasphemous.. It's not though, this album is GORGEOUS. Like a pleasant Minimal Wave album from the 80's meets Dream-Folk Pop as seen through frosted melancholic divinity. Mi & L'au have accomplished what most artists can't, they have dived(dove?) head first into a polar opposite sound and emerged victoriously, redefining what "modern" Folk music should really represent. If music can be reformed or take different shapes via current surroundings I would love to hear what this album sounds like in the original cabin M & L once locked themselves up in..
(lame pun alert) If Beauty is indeed a "crime" this album would most likely be put on death row. A lethal injection of this multitude would/should hook anyone in the right mind set. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Standout Tracks: All, Esp. Tender Words, Magic, Faces, Valdren, One Day, Warrior (perfect ender)