by dave cohen (SirDAVE) - Oct 01, 2007
The Mirrors - Somewhere Along the Wall
Just a few months after their formation, The Mirrors have recorded and released their first full-length album, Somewhere Along the Wall. I had very mixed feelings about this album. The first song was cool. It starts out with a blues inspired riff, then goes into a riff/chord alternating song. The contrast between the two sounds nice, and the unison between the vocal melody and lead guitar sounds neat and reoccurs frequently on the album (which doesn't necessarily mean it's overdone). The second song may be even better. Maybe it's just personal taste, but I think there is more there in terms of arrangement. The different sections of the song really flowed together flawlessly with clever and subtle transitions. Rhythmic unisons, short breaks that come out of nowhere, etc. make this a very tight arrangement. At this point I had high hopes for the rest of the album.
Unfortunately the next song destroyed those hopes. It just came off as a really cheesy and clichéd song. It sounded very manufactured, and aside from a few guitar parts stuck in the background, I found nothing interesting about this song. From that song on, the rest of the album was hit or miss; I loved some of the songs, I hated some of the songs, and if the rest came on the radio while I was driving, they probably wouldn't piss me off enough to change the station. Interestingly enough, there seems to be an inverse correlation between length and quality of song; the best songs, in my opinion, were all of the songs under 3 minutes, and aside from the first and last tracks, anything over 3 minutes didn't do much for me.
This is a tough album to give a concrete review to. There's a lot of stylistic variety on the album; a lot of the songs definitely have the same flavor as others, but there are 2 or 3 styles that dominate the album, so you might be like me and love some songs while hating others. It's an album that you have to really listen to for yourself. From a purely objective standpoint, there are parts in the album that display great musicality; a lot of the arrangements are fantastic, they're good about being dynamically variant, they have a lot of really nice sounding chord progressions and riffs, they have a really good ear for fitting creative lead parts over those chords to make them sound amazing, and they're very creative with vocal harmonies, including some cool counter melodies. On the other hand, several songs are bland and typical, and there isn't very much interesting about the arrangement aspect at all. It was a shock to hear how a band could go from so interesting to so boring in such a short amount of time. A lot of times the vocalist's voice rubbed me the wrong way (but this happens a lot--I'm very picky about vocalists, and a lot of times they grow on me after repeated listening). I should mention here that I'm not really a lyrics person. I mean I enjoy good lyrics, but in general, bad lyrics won't really ruin an otherwise good song. But for those lyrics people out there, the words on this album seem typical and lame. I wasn't listening for the lyrics when I had the disc on--I never really listen to lyrics--but the few lines that stuck out were pretty bad. All in all I'd say just try it for yourself. Listen to some samples on iTunes or something. I had some legitimate musical complaints, but most of the issues I had were purely taste-related. All in all I thought the album was about 40/60% good/bad, but that 40% was well worth the listen.