This is interesting. We’re all used to the splendour of ethereal music, part of which comes from the lyrical themes being so beautifully and emotionally presented, as there needs to be harmony between the words and music or there’d be one almighty clash, and also because this is one form of music where musicianship is a massive plus. In punk a unified impact is sufficient to make great songs jump out of their skins and into yours, but on this side of Goth and Ambient music you need to know what you’re doing. It’s like taking the snooty aspects of classical and throwing them away, bringing in new approaches to old themes.
So you have here a band who have a cool head start, being a trio, which makes for natural balance in itself, with singer Kit Messick, Joanna Dalin (ex Backworld) and James Babbo who handles guitar, bass and some imaginative programming. Messick’s past includes Unto Ashes, which is something to consider, and she has an alternative cabaret/torch side to her activities which also shows through here. This is a beautifully realised record, and it benefits from the added interpretive styles Messick has acquired in her time, as well as this not sounding too old. The beauty of Unto Ashes is they way they take Olde Forms and make them bleed as they’re dragged towards, or into, the world of now, with sharpened perspective. The beauty of The Mirror Reveals is that they’re not old in the first place. Okay, violin, but here you have what sounds like an rabidly imaginative Indie band playing in a Victorian parlour. The instruments seem to bulge outwards, the vocals are all around you like a daylight séance. The guitar rings out.
It is off to an impressive start with ‘Cold Heart’ which sounds like Indie Ethereal with vibrant guitar, richly mixed vocals and a seriously fine chorus, then the light Goth guitar styling inside ‘Waves’ mixes delightfully with crisp percussion and a persuasive voice. ’Blue Fire’ is more of the same, after which you see the vocals become folkier in ‘The Grail’ to fit the lyrical theme but instead of becoming predictable as a result some slick beats keep it nimble.,
‘Out Of A Misty Dream’ is more challenging with austerity used to create a beguiling aura, drawing you in, as is ‘Moons On Fire’ with male vocals and big guitar upfront, everything else swirling behind, and somehow suggesting matters of profound weight, when they’re nothing of the sort…which lets me slip in my usual snide comment about former/current nazi fantasists Death In June, whose ‘The Golden Wedding Of Sorrow’ is included here. (I’ll always be suspicious of that band, even though it is now just Pearce. Old habits die hard.)
‘Storytellers’ is sweet and lively, and yet so frail, with gorgeous vocals dominant as the music twists in on itself, and ‘Little Plaything’ is lyrically strong, but was actually a disappointment to me, sounding like an amateur All About Eve tribute band, as if they don’t quite have the confidence in this type of sound, although it’s rescued by vivid violin, and it ends with two superb, stark pieces, the title track and closer ‘Finale’, where the music ripples outwards from an intriguing vocal heart, shot through with great percussive streaks.
Almost flawless, but not just yet, I hope they stick together, because are going to create something incredible one day.