Whimsical, haunting, dreamlike music that eschews the traditional formulae, Cheyenne Marie Mize presents a rainbow of juxtapositions. The New York Times described her 2010 debut, Before Lately, as “sweet without being cloying, weary without hopelessness,” noting the vast space between notes, yet lack of air.
Before Lately was a slow-burning, introspective, meditative affair. Her follow-up EP, We Don’t Need (out Jan. 24, 2012 on Yep Roc) offers an expansion of the sonic palette she’s established – with more dynamic moods, instrumentation, and experimentation. Using only a dense array of percussion, the opener “Wishing Well” nods to both classic R&B flavors and adventurous modern pop. A somber funeral march provides the backbeat of “Don’t Call Me Beautiful” before Cheyenne showcases her upbeat troubadour chops within the resplendent piano swing of “Going Under.” “Keep It” and “It Lingers” conjures a bombastic form of classic college radio songwriting. Instrumental album closer “Back Around” goes full desert chamber rock – monolithic walls of cavernous sound fill the backdrop behind spacey vocal samples and cinematic strings.
Mize wants listeners to know that “the songs on We Don’t Need are meant to be digested individually more than as continuous parts of a complete whole. Each has its own character and will likely be enjoyed in different mental states. As a whole, We Don’t Need is surely eclectic, but each part gives a little taste of the things to come…”
Indeed, We Don’t Need does not fit easily into a box. The record does work as a whole, though, thanks to the constant winding its way through this varied landscape. Lending a cohesion to this sonic kaleidoscope is a voice that Daytrotter described as “a tone that allows you to stretch your head back to that last great and true love that you experienced – the best form of it that ever came your way – and feel as if it never left.”
Mize introduced herself internationally on the 10? release Among the Gold with Bonnie “Prince” Billy – an inventive take on a variety of late 19th century American parlor music handpicked by Mize and Oldham. She continued her alliance with Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore as a major player in the Dear Companion tour supporting their collaborative Sub Pop release in early 2010. After the release of her debut later that year and subsequent performances at South By Southwest, Mize was chosen by NPR as one of their ten “Discoveries at SXSW 2011.”