‘Spin as One’ is Los Angeles based duo Mia Mustari and Jonah Blumstein’s fourth album and perhaps it is the confidence of a musical marriage of 15 years together that has allowed them to deliver such a confident and compelling listen. If there were any preconceived notions that this songwriting duo would offer up a gentle laid-back acoustic listen then the opening title track puts those thoughts on hold. Mia and Jonah have recruited able musical support to produce a full band sound with the strings of Alan Grubner and Stevie Destanislao’s insistent drums joining forces with Jonah’s harmonica for a joyously upbeat starter.
The presence of these accompanying musicians, there are four in total, has allowed the duo to offer a variety of styles on the album and for every song that is built around a dominant drum rhythm there are others where a softer approach affords a change in pace and direction. The common thread of course is the vocals of Mia and Jonah and that musical diversity is mirrored by the sharing of lead vocals. Both voices work splendidly independently as well as coming together for some highly effective harmonies.
Which style and pace of song best showcases these vocal talents may depend on your own musical preferences but Jonah’s lead on the soft and soulful album closer ‘Warm Wind’ is indeed a warm and lovely thing to behold. As good as the fuller, more band influenced songs may be, this closing track offers up a tantalising glimpse of the potential of the duo with the right song.
This view is reinforced by the other stand out track ‘Rooms’. Whilst those aforementioned drums remain prominent they are employed in a much subtler fashion that leaves us with the not insignificant result of a track with a killer, shuffle like drum riff complimenting shared lead vocals.
This is an album with much to commend it and the vocal talents of Mia Mustari and Jonah Blumstein are as good a pairing as anything out there. If in doubt, listen to ‘Smile’, a track that, in its own meandering fashion, gets the balance between lovely sounding guitar, harmonica and wonderful vocals just about spot on.