Open mic events usually consist of singer-songwriters who, if they have any original material at all, are simply refurbishing old cliches that have been played out by thousands of people, thousands of times, in a thousand different places. This is why it is so noteworthy when an artist is plucked from these settings and given the chance to be heard by a much wider audience.

    Mirel Wagner is just this lucky artist. The interesting thing is, her music is an old cliche. Stripped down bluesy guitar playing (mostly acoustic), somewhat basic song structures, and a melancholy lyrical style. The reason that Wagner was able to emerge from the bar rooms and coffee houses of Helsinki and into the recording studio of Sub Pop records is not an overly complicated one; she is just damn good.

    She is able to take the themes of an old genre and give them new life because of how skilled her composition becomes as a whole. The songwriting is impeccable and gives you sense of sadness without beating you over the head with it. The instrumentation is simple yet interesting enough to keep one from dozing off, which is a legitimate issue with this kind of album. Wagner’s voice finds the middle ground between overly delicate and aggressively rough. This kind of balance is what it takes for a quiet album like When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day break through the noise.

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