Miel’s debut album is a collection of mellow songs tinged with a melancholia that taps into the uneasy malaise that has characterised this most unusual of summers.
Miel, aka Miel Bredouw, has many hats – musician, comedian, former Vine star. I first encountered her as the co-host (originally with Demi Adejuyigbe) of Punch Up The Jam, a comedy podcast which takes classic songs, lovingly dissects them, and then suggests how they might be improved on, or “punched up”. From countless songs parodied and re-imagined on that show, it was always clear Miel could sing and had a great musical ear, but she rarely ventured into more serious content. Now she has released her debut album, with her brother, fellow musician Henri Bardot, co-writing and producing.
Tourist Season is a tight collection of seven songs, written and recorded over a month and half last summer in the wake of a breakup. Miel told musicfeeds, “Heartbreak is simultaneously such a broad and specific subject,” and that concept is at the core of this project. She has a Taylor Swiftian ability to craft intensely personal, diary-esque lyrics, singing on closer ‘Early Hours’, “But if I don’t wanna be a mother / Why did I treat you like a kid / Up into the early hours / Telling you the trouble you were in?” as synths gently swirl in the background.
As is perhaps appropriate for someone who has spent several years doing deep-dive line-by-line analyses of songs on her podcast, there isn’t a second of filler or note of excess to be found on Tourist Season. Even ‘Shrine’, an instrumental interlude before the final track, feels essential.
These songs are brief – only two clock in at over three minutes – but heavy; quiet explorations of loss and longing. On ‘Mean Something’, the opening lines ask “Will you remember me the best / Or mix me up with the rest?” over plaintive piano chords. Despite – or perhaps because of – the vulnerability of these most intimate emotions, this album captures something universal. We have all lost something this year. When they wrote ‘Must Be Fine’ 12 months before, Miel and Bardot could hardly have imagined how timely the chorus might feel: “I keep going thinking every day / I’m awake must mean I’m okay / I must be fine.”
As a debut album, it is accomplished and confident – a fully-realised vision. I slept on it a for a few weeks in the haze of folklore‘s surprise release but this colder weather we’ve been having feels like the perfect backdrop for this album. Taylor Swift might have dominated the market in mellow melancholia for the past month but, as August slips away into a moment in time, Tourist Season season is here. Light yourself a candle, pull the blanket more tightly around you, and luxuriate in this gorgeous rainy day record.