Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

The Mirror Stage turns the mirror on the human spirit.

January 26, 2009

The Mirror Stage shows a lot of promise. As I listened to their debut EP Ten Thousand Tongues, I could hear hints of greatness to come. Actually, I’m listening to it now for the third time – it certainly is enjoyable to listen to. If I could use one word to describe their sound, it would be atmospheric. Think post-rock along the lines of Explosions in the Sky, only with words and a pop/indie spin.

It is obvious the band is relatively new at what they’re doing. As far as I know, they’ve only been recording, playing, and touring since 2008. Understandably, they are not on the spot in every song. While some new bands find it hard to break out of their comfort zones and experiment, the Mirror Stage isn’t in the least bashful about this. Their experimentation isn’t bad, per se – it’s just not focused, almost like they’re trying too many ideas at once.

I’m not saying the Mirror Stage isn’t good – far from it. I believe this roughness is merely birth pangs of something better to come. Time would fail me to list every phenomenal band playing today that had a rough start.

Despite the roughness around the edges that inevitably comes with a first recording, there is a lot of heart and a lot of potential, and I can see the Mirror Stage going far. The Mirror Stage’s post-rock influences are obvious, as well as drawing inspiration from the indie genre. I’m sure as they record and play more, they will begin to discover who they are. With more recognition, time, practice, inspiration, etc., I could easily see this band going from being good to being great, and catching the eye (and ears!) of other music publications and listeners. James McAnally, the band’s singer, has a good voice, and can only get stronger with time and practice.

For me, the highlights of this five track EP are “At the Still Point of the Burning World” and “Hymn of an Amen.” “At the Still Point of the Burning World” in particular seems to resonate deeply – the song surprised me with its depth and originality. I expected the solo to go one way when it went another. The song is certainly a high point of the album. The song reaches and touches deeply at the core of what makes us human. I think this is what the band is trying to do, and they pulled it off masterfully with this song.

Yes, I would recommend this band to a friend. Yes, I would recommend A Thousand Tongues. Keep looking out for the Mirror Stage. If this is where they’re at now, then the future should hold great things for them, if they remain true to themselves and their purpose.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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