Click to hear: “Les Moulins”
Mai, Mai is a project by Sean Morin, formerly of that too-young-and-gifted-to-live group The Cambiata. Once you hear the eponymous Mai, Mai EP, you realize where The Cambiata got its orchestral inclinations. That trait came straight from Morin’s musical genes.
The five Mai, Mai songs Morin quietly posted on Bandcamp a couple months back are exquisite works of dreamy, melancholy electro-chamber-pop (read: pop songs with strings and programming). Morin composed, arranged and recorded everything, and plays guitar, piano, marimba, keyboards and ukulele. He sings on a few songs, too, but more often has guests handle the vocals.
Alyssa Spry’s slightly warbly, Feistian voice lends considerable character to the two numbers she graces, “Les Moulins” and “Goodbye Song.” Singer Sara Hallie Richardson does a fine job on the weirdly beautiful “One Less.” However, choosing Billy Libby (of Even All Out and Why Hello fame) to sing the first track, “Aujord’hui,” was a misstep. Americans singing in French invariably come off sounding pretentious.
Morin was able to marshal the talents of numerous top-shelf local players for this project, like bassist Stu Mahan and drummer D.J. Moore (both also played in Morin’s rootsy indie-rock combo, Daro, a few years back), and cellist Emily Dix Thomas. Jazz trumpeter Mark Tipton guests on “Goodbye Song,” lending this elegiac closer a thin air of hope.
Of all Morin’s strengths on display here, his skill as an arranger is the most evident on Mai, Mai. This a definitely a project worth continuing.
— Chris Busby
The Mai, Mai EP can be heard and downloaded for free at maimai.bandcamp.com.