Madison band Miyha’s first EP, the recently released Happy Birthday, Nick, combines bright guitar-pop with unsparing lyrics. Guitarist/singer Alejandra Perez, formerly of Tarpaulin and Automatically Yours, uses the EPs five songs to unpack the fond memories and indignities of a broken relationship. Songs like “Dodge Or Pine,” “92/69/39 (Ryan Adams),” and “Raspberry Kombucha” feel very true to the mix of nostalgia and lingering bitterness a person can feel when looking back on any kind of hurtful relationship, romantic or otherwise.
Though Perez’s approach is unvarnished and plainspoken, she pulls off unpretentious lines that stretch powerfully between those conflicting emotions. After listing some happy memories on “92/69/39 (Ryan Adams),” she sings, “It doesn’t seem like much when I put it in a box”—capturing how significant and how small events in our lives can seem. The chorus of “Raspberry Kombucha” is a bit more oblique, but has a visceral punch anyway: ‘You just keep on denying what’s growing in your guts.”
A while after Tarpaulin broke up, Perez formed the band with guitarist Mike Pellino and drummer Erik Fredine (both also members of Tippy) and bassist Nick Hoffmann. As he does in Tippy, Pellino serves as a trusty pocketknife of a lead guitarist, providing everything from flickery hooks to noisy crescendos but always serving the song as a whole. As a rhythm section, Fredine and Hoffmann take the songs through swaying feels and tempo changes that are a bit more complex than they seem on the surface.