I first heard ‘I Think Everything’s Going to be Fine’ from Mi Mye‘s new album The Sympathy Sigh maybe only a couple of months ago and can clearly remember the feeling which I can only describe as somewhere between floating and melting. It was the song title that struck me first. Everything is going to be fine. That’s something I tell myself ALL the time, especially during periods of anxiety. As much as I say it, I can never quite convince myself. That’s where the word think comes in. That word makes a world of difference. It’s not a bad thing, I do think everything’s gonna be fine, I just can’t be certain. That’s anxiety for you. Y’know what? I’ll just go listen to the song again and the world will sit back on it’s axis. Except the way that Jamie sings that line, it seems maybe half a beat behind the tempo, I’m not sure he’s completely convinced either….
What is certain is that Mi Mye have created a glorious record in The Sympathy Sigh. Melancholic? Absolutely, but it’s sprinkled throughout with moments of joy, inspiration and charm. Moments that’ll make you feel like you’re floating. Or melting.
It’s a privilege to bring you this track by track guide to the new album written by Jamie from Mi Mye. It provides some fascinating insights into where these songs come from. Do enjoy.
Track 1: Intro A
This one is just an intro to the record, maybe instead of talking about the music of this one (it’s just lots of strings) I could introduce myself. I’m Jamie from the band Mi Mye, I’m from the far north coast of Scotland but now I reside in Wakefield, a little city just south of Leeds.
Track 2: I Think Everything’s Going to be Fine
This track was written one year after the day after our last album launch party. It’s about three people at different points of distant relationships. One is close to the end of his, he’s the one shouting over the distance. Another is in the middle of one, he’s the one that went to the firework display. He stood facing away from the rain but that meant we has facing away from the fire and the fireworks. The third was me, not quite in a distant relationship but really wanting to be, being confused and partying a lot to help distract me from the uncertainty of what would happen.
Track 3: Determan the Extent
There’s a film which was made in Wakefield in 1963 called This Sporting Life. It’s a hard, horrible film about abuse and defending it. Our good friends from Wakefield The Cribs based a lot of their album “Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever” on this film. During my divorce I would look for help groups to be involved with around Wakefield. One of them was an anger management group. Eventually I got asked to leave as I wasn’t angry enough, but I just loved sitting in a circle and talking with people I didn’t know, it felt like I was in a film of some kind. However, I did actually learn lots of amazing things about myself and other people too and I would suggest that it’s something you should all do – get divorced once and join an anger management group. The self help book you had to read was called Be Safe and that’s also the title of one of the best Cribs songs ever. I wanted to call this track the same name and The Cribs were totally fine with that but in the end we thought it would be too strange to have two songs by Wakefield bands about the same thing with the same name, so the first question in the book was “determine the extent” so I just mispelt it and called the track that.
Track 4: Methadone Church
Chad and I were leaving the studio where I work and when we got to the bus stop we saw a mother with twin girls walk past us. The girls were identically dressed and the mother had blood on her top lip. That’s all the song is, just that, I wrote it as soon as I got on the bus. It’s a track that doesn’t judge or comment, it’s just what was there.
Track 5: He Believes in Me
There are two versions of this track, both have the same words and the same music but the vocal preformance and character is totally different. One is sung by James Smith (from Post War Glamour Girls) and the other, the one that’s on the album, is Emily. I love how the different preformances makes you think the song is about a completely different thing. The song also has elements of both ‘Methadone Church’ and ‘Determan the Extent’ but makes you think of different things. The second verse is almost identical to the second verse of ‘Methadone Church’ which is something I’ve liked the idea of for some time. I like interchanging stories but with the part before or after changing the meaning. When I was 5 or 6 I went to Edinburgh Zoo with my folks. We went to see the seals. I was excited because they had always been swimming in the bay where I grew up but I was so sad when I saw the little enclosure that I cried and we had to leave. It was a huge amount off hassle and expense for my family to take me there, it was a 6 hour drive and something that was supposed to be amazing for me. When I saw the seals I had a massive strop and my sister gave me a Marathon (a Snickers from the 80s) to try and stop me from behaving badly. But I rubbed it into a brick wall that was coverd in pebble dash instead of eating it.
Track 6: Night City Air
There is this story from the village I’m from about a boat being washed up on the beach after a big storm. It came with the wind so the story said. It was a great boat and everyone was delighted to have such a great new boat. Then one day the people that were in the boat wouldn’t give an old woman a ride in it from the mainland to the island. The woman said next time I see you you will have a different boat. That night there was a really high tide and the boat washed away. So goes the saying “things come with the wind and are taken by the sea”.
Track 7: All Fin
My father had an awful push bike accident when I was 12. The thing he remembers about it is that one of his old friends drove past and didn’t help. The song is about my feelings towards this person, finding out at 12 that someone is willing to drive past someone in that state almost makes you think that it’s something you could do yourself. It’s not right but you’ve heard of it being done. The person who drove past died in a car crash some years later and I felt nothing. He took my empathy from me, so I wasn’t able to give it back.
Track 8: Intro B
This is an intro to the other side, I suppose I could tell you about the rest of Mi Mye. We are 5 people now, which I love. Rob plays the drums and the guitar, Chad plays the baratone guitar and the bass, Morgan plays the keyboards and the guitar and he sings, Emily plays the keyboard and the accordion and the trumpet and she sings. I play the guitar and the fiddle.
Track 9: Night Swimming and the Snow
This is just a love song. There’s a little pub near our house called Inns of Court. On a Sunday evening me and Emily went there and there was almost no one there. We put tunes on the jukebox and we played pool, then when we left the pub it was snowing. That’s it, simple 🙂
Track 10: The Sympathy Sigh
This is the title track of the album. When I was just starting to write this record I got an ace job re-writing the music for the Socialist Hymn Book. It was for a play about the socialist movement just before the first world war, which was something I knew nothing about, but this beautiful picture emerges of people and love and nothing else. It was such a gift. This song is based on one of the hymns about that little bit of time you have at night to contemplate your day.
Track 11: Under the Waterline
This is a song about a simple, sad conversation with a friend about the loss of their brother. My earliest memory is from when I had a fever and dreamt that my brother had died. That’s my first memory of sadness.
Track 12: Your Hand Writing
This song is about your work having control over your life, making you believe in what you do and slowly convincing you that it’s right. Or companies giving you shares so you work hard and tell people that everything’s ok.
Track 13: Ow Harts
This is another of the socialist hymns, from wedding ceremonies. When I found this I sang it straight away as if it was a song that had already existed and that I’d always known. The guests would sing it at the wedding to the couple and the other people they love, rather than to something or someone else (God, oh God). It’s just such a nice idea that we felt we had to finish this record with that love (Love, oh Love).
The Sympathy Sigh by Mi Mye is released on Philophobia and Hide & Seek Records. Order it here.