When it comes to reviews, I am always wondering if comparisons are somewhat staining the hard work of the artist. This is something that was never discussed with me and I am very interested in delving into such a subject. I feel it gives you a frame of reference so you get an idea of what you’re seeing or hearing if you’re not particularly familiar with that certain piece of art and it helps you make fruitful connections. But, on the other hand, is it not, in a way, diminishing the talent and hard effort put in that piece of art?
The reason I’m starting with this is because, with Drab Majesty‘s Modern Mirror, my mind went “Cocteau Twins this, The Cure that, Killing Joke this other thing.” In a way, I feel it’s not fair. But what do I know, I’m not a music critic.
I love Drab Majesty, I love them to bits. I think they are one of the most interesting acts around. I was absolutely blown away by their second record, “The Demonstration”, which, incidentally, also launched my interest in alien space cults. So, naturally, my eyes are always set for their next venture. With “Modern Mirror”, Drab focus on the myth of Narcissus in modern times. The album cover is very evocative of that, as well as the visuals released prior to the album launch. These were, of course, the enticing invitation to explore the hazy shadows with open arms.
The album opens with “A Dialogue”, a set of chords as reverb-ed as the voices the blend together into your ears and lull you away from yourself and a synth that sounds almost menacing in its persistence. “The Other Side” is an 80’s track clad in modern clothes that doesn’t slow down its entire running time. What is particularly enchanting to this record, signaled here at first but booming later on, is keyboardist Mona D’s vocals, perfectly in tune with the theme and feel of this new Drab iteration. Mona has been around since before “The Demonstration” but with their skill being showcased only in live performances. This time, their contribution is so wonderfully wed to the tracks, it only brings extra charm to each appearance.
“Ellipsis” was the first track out of four to be launched prior to the album release. Beautiful and poppy synths accompany lyrics about the dramatics of falling in love in the modern age. Following is “Noise of the Void”, which falls swiftly in the goth-tragic wave that Drab profess so well, not failing to capture you with its romanticism.
“Dolls in the Dark” is a New Order track if they never outgrew their goth period.
Now, I cannot contain my excitement for the third single, “Oxytocin”. The track features Mona D’s vocals exclusively and it is so charming in its hope for love and embracing of the ephemeral, it shines from a mile away. It’s an absolute banger and my favorite of the album. “Long Division” and “Out of Sequence” are the second and last singles. “Long Division” is a self-reflection, a dreamy progression through the dangers of our own thoughts while “Out of Sequence” takes this concept even further, pointing out feelings of confusion and desperation that ultimately do not have an answer.
Modern Mirror is definitely a jewel of an album in Drab Majesty‘s catalog. The addition of Mona D to the front lines was an excellent move and a great plus to the outfit and I wish them longevity. Cohesive even when experimental, it is only expected that their creative power will bring forth more neo-goth jewels in this world.
->Our review of The Demonstration
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