Dundee’s Mirror Trap are an intriguing prospect on paper mentored by the mighty Placebo and having influences ranging from the Manic Street Preachers to The View and beyond they are one of those bands that are true Indie rock, a rock indie band rather than just a label. It’s a genre that has been lacking any heroes in recent times so with this second album Simulation the guys flew to Thailand to record at the same studio the Libertines and Enter Shikari have recently been using. Expectations have been growing for this band for a while.
If the guys needed a bold, massive, exciting, well produced, anthematic album to try and win over the indie kids and rockers alike then it is clear from the opening bars of “Under The Glass Tower” this is it. This is a triumphant start to the album, this is like The Pigeon Detectives on steroids, urgent, catchy (very catchy) but with that edge to the proceedings, you feel like every sinew is being stretched, every instrument is being bashed, played as if their lives depended on it. More desperate than their indie counterparts.
On a track like “New Trance” we are instantly introduced to a darker vibe to The Mirror Trap, still as catchy as the album opener but the lead guitar on this keeps a much darker edge. Reminiscent of early period Idlewild. “No ID” is probably the stand out track of the album and this should introduce the band to a whole host of new fans, it’s a brilliant song. The bridge builds up towards the chorus actually reminds me of Regina Spectres theme tune to “Orange is the New Black”. The chorus itself is majestically huge and the “Choose a Life” message throughout gives that additional meaning. Epic song, more rock. When lead singer Moore cries out in frustration two thirds of the way through, the music is increases in intensity and it all comes together you know that this is the song of the album.
What makes this album so good though is that there really is no filler, perhaps at times they shift around looking for their best angle but whatever they turn their hand to they do so well. This is a record you would want to put on before going out on a Saturday night. Take “Something About Forever”, Placeboish in its delivery, there is more than a nod in that direction but as a standalone song this is classic Placebo, catchy Placebo.
“Piranhas” is one of the surprises of the album for me. Its starts off with a heavy sludge feel before the lyrics come in, plaintive indiesh at first (if not dark in content) but they increase with intensity as they wordplay increases. In comes the chorus and again the intensity increases. Great song even with its dark lyrical content. This is quickly followed up by the ballad of the album “Joyride”, a simple piano and voice beginning is joined by the whole band. Laid back and really shows off Moore’s voice.
Probably my favourite track of the album is the album closer “Bleach Your Bones”. This is one of the more rock songs of the album and everything about it from the structure of the song, to the lyrics, to the chorus all work really well. I love the voice on this track a lot, there feels like there was a little more experimentation, a small dragging of the vocals at times that works really well. It gives The Mirror Trap a distinctive sound and feel to it, would like to see how they go with this in the future. And course, this all builds up to a crescendo, which is something these guys do so well. Great end to a great album. “Were All in This Together”.
On Simulations The Mirror Trap have definitely delivered on their promise, it’s a fine line now to be able to promote these guys in the right way. Genres suck in many aspects as it not only helps people understand what type of music a band plays but categorizes them at the same time; but a band that wears Idlewild on its sleeve and is mentored by Placebo should be able to traverse this gorge. Vital, must buy album, life affirming.