Empty Mirror showcase a gorgeously emotional and creative collection of songs with this latest project The Mere. There’s a strong sense of influence from the likes of Placebo and early noughties or even nineties bands who broke down the barriers between rock and alternative indie. It’s not the melodies or the vocal style, it’s the way the songs have been crafted – each one is an experience, a journey through thoughts and feelings. The title track as an opener is the perfect example, a delicate piece with dashes of contrasting intensity to really engross the listener. The lyrics are fascinating, honest and thoughtful, provocative and strangely easy to connect with.
Afterwards, All Stems (Ready to Fast-Forward Now) introduces immediate eclecticism and sees a more colourful array of instrumentation kick things off. Then it falls away again, and that now familiar voice returns to lure you over into the centre of the story-line. The sound is fairly minimalist in many ways, there’s plenty of space – the band aren’t afraid to utilize time and quietness as much as riffs and musical vibrancy. Certain lines here are reinforced by additional vocal warmth and fullness – these really stand out in a powerful way, and the melody is beautiful.
Keep It Real is another gorgeously expressive song, a hint of Radiohead emerges, even Amanda Palmer towards the end; that musical softness and that inherent connection to the art-form mesmerizes and intensifies throughout. As usual, contrast has been mastered, as has musicianship – but only ever to the point of relevancy, never purely to show off. This one is a personal favourite for its ideas and the way it gets you thinking on things you might otherwise not.
During the latter half, Clownishness injects a hit of rhythm and a more colourful, louder, title-appropriate vocal performance. Variety works well in making this project one to return to again and again. Thinking In Tongues follows and mellows things out to the poetic and considerate. A select few lyrics present certain sentiments, and the music and melodies then create a lustful aura among them.
Two-Drink Minimum to Leave the Beach adds a mildly theatrical back and forth that holds tight to your attention. The drop to distorted weight and high energy is striking – the band always manage to be creatively unpredictable yet musically satisfying at the very same time. Fatehandler (For an Insignificant Man) then sticks with a relaxed groove and a sense of artistic self-reflection.
If you can’t think
It’s best to sing
If you can’t sing, shut up
Inedia (Naked Girl) brings the collection to a close with a notably bright, perhaps optimistic song that leaves you with a feeling of contentment. The project feels fairly short when all is said and done, but as suggested earlier – there’s a lot of value in re-visiting these songs. There’s plenty more to hear and realise than a single listen can really allow most of us. An impressive and genuinely original project.