Jamie Lockhart, the creative force behind Mi Mye, possesses a lightness of touch in his songwriting that doesn't administer any rough treatment to stop you in your tracks, still less does it grab you by the balls, but that's not to say that within its delicate tapestry it isn't capable of delivering punches. And stop you in your tracks is what The Sympathy Sigh certainly does.
The punches meted out in The Sympathy Sigh are subtly delivered but carry an emotional impact that stays in the mind long after more visceral approaches have faded into harsh memory The narrator's static reflections in the archly titled 'I Think Everything's Going To Be Fine' reveal much about the depth you're going to find here, the final, blankly stated title loaded with potential meanings, unfulfilled yet pregnant with possibilities
There's rich variety in these possibilities. The evocative images of 'Methadone Church' and 'All Fin' rub up against the stark realism of 'Your Handwriting', while there's something almost celebratory in the mood of 'Night City Air'. This is an album that can peel away layers of your life to reveal the starkness of nature, while offering up perspectives that fluctuate between the troubling and the (almost) comforting.
Probably my favourite track is 'Nightswimming and the Snow', which I'm playing in my Dandelion Radio show this month. Its lingering fade-in takes us into a narrative that verges on the spoken word as it recounts snowy scenes played out to an REM soundtrack. Here, not buying a wide-screen TV means a reason to sit closer together. A foot curled around the back of an ankle is the prelude to an embrace.
All of which is emblematic of a collection that so unerringly digs beauty out of harsh reality only to reverse the process in a musical heartbeat with a deft lyrical twist. That said, listening to The Sympathy Sigh can scarcely be called an unsettling experience: rather, its plaintive harmonies and lightly intrusive instrumental strains look set to provide a perfect counterpoint as the dark autumn nights begin to gather.
Best get hold of a copy fast then. It's available now in vinyl, CD and download from here.