"Girls & Cities“ is the fourth collaboration between Colorado based poet Myra Davies and Berlin based producer and Monika label owner Gudrun Gut. The first three albums were called "Miasma, "Miasma 2“ and "Miasma 3“ and the band also played live under the name "Miasma“. For the third album, the two decided to release it only under the name of Myra Davies with Gudrun Gut acting as the producer. As another novelty, Gut is not the sole producer for Myra Davies, but Danielle de Picciotto and Alexander Hacke (the latter of Einst¸rzende Neubauten) as well as Beate Bartel (of Liaison Dangereuse) also each added their production skills to one song.
The non-Gut produced tracks are also the best ones on the album. On "Stuff“, De Picciotto and Hacke serve Davies with a very melodic piano and accordion based composition over which Davies tells her thoughts about greed and human's obsession with keeping and storing "stuff“. Bartel on the other hand has a slightly oriental tinged tune in store for a story about Viatnemese coffee on "Hanoi“. To be honest, the Gudrun Gut procuced tunes are mostly not spectacular so a lot depends on the lyrics and the stories Davies tells. And those vary in quality, but are overall quite good. The one about William S. Burroughs is very nice and atmospheric. "Rain“ for example doesn't live up to it and neither does "Qatar“ even though Davies' vocals have a nice rhythm to them (sort of like Last Poets or other pre-rap groups).
Excellent pieces overall are especially the last three ones. They begin with "Worm“ which features good lyrics and good music having a very old-time feel to it. Following comes "Calgary“, a piece about Calgary (ca. 1900) being compared to European cities which is based on a poem of E. Pauline Johnson and music by Carrie Jacobs bond. The album ends with "Goodbye Belfast“, again very old-timey with samples of Irish traditional songs and words about Ireland. Also the 60s inspired "My Friend Sherry“ is quite excellent although the refrain doesn't quite fit in. Accompaying the album comes "The Girl Suite“ EP to serve as a teaser. It also contains "My Friend Sherry“ and a different version of "Drill“. There are also two exclusive tracks to the EP, entitled "Love“ and "Valkyrie“ both of which are alright, but not as good as the tunes on the "Cities & Girls“ CD. 7/10 -- Stephan Bauer (15 October, 2008)