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The moody, blonde, Ukraine-born Lana Mir is a singer/songwriter comfortably ensconced within her clever arrangements and respectable influences (a little Astrud Gilberto, a little Marianne Faithfull, a little French-style Keren Ann, with a touch of Manchester thrown in for good measure) making everything she has to offer as smooth as silk. Overall, her intimate Tuesday night show at Arlene’s was a truly pleasant experience – the kind of evening that would have been best accompanied by a comfortable seat at the bar and great glass of wine.

Backed by an excellent bassist and versatile guitar/keyboard player, Mir started out her set with “These Days,” which featured a nice little xylophone and keyboard arrangement tidily tucked into mellow and hushed melodies. Next came the lazy drum machine beat of “Years are Not Enough,” with deceptively effortless vocals wafting in at all the right moments. Third was “Unbreakable,” which featured male back-up vocals, chiming in tastefully to add atmosphere.

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Her cover of the Stone Roses’ “I Wanna Be Adored” slows it down, cleans it up, and spins the song with bossa nova flourishes and a nice touch of tambourine. “Summertime” features breezy lyrics that could seem trite if they didn’t seem so intentionally stylized to evoke a certain style of 60’s European/Mediterranean pop. In “Goodbye Girl,” Mir goes bossa nova-meets-The Cardigans and the results are charming.

In the end it is when Mir ventures into bossa nova that she comes across as most distinct and interesting. It is a sound that she could even dial up a little more—although there’s really no need. So far she’s doing
pretty well.–Jennifer Bassett/photos by Jennifer Bassett