Two years ago Dundee-based band The Mirror Trap were Scotland’s best kept secret. The five-piece met at music college and started writing and releasing music almost immediately, leading to considerable attention north of the border and much talked about appearances at T In The Park and beyond.
After their album Stay Young was released on their own label in 2014 the band were spotted in their home town of Dundee by Brian Molko of Placebo. His immediate connection to their anthemic, direct song writing led to a bizarre and wonderful opportunity for the band; they were invited to support the indie legends on a Trans-Siberian train tour of Russia, followed by the iTunes Festival and then Placebo’s UK tour in 2015. They were no longer a best kept secret.
This month the band released Simultations. Not wishing to waste any time with introductions, opener ‘Under The Glass Towers’ comes belting out the traps with a heady mix of frenetic guitars, imaptient drums and hurried vocals. Two and a half minutes later it’s all over. Ironically this is pretty much the only song on Simulations which sounds as dervlish as this.
‘New Trance’ whilst still played at pace slows things down slightly and heralds in the sound which will become familiar throughout the remainder of the album. Catchy guitar hooks, and choruses which are begging to be sung ensue.
‘Something About Forever’ with it’s chorus and perfectly poised guitar refrain deserves to be sung at full volume from a festival crowd. ‘Piranhas’ is up next and is frankly awesome. With a bass sound which clinks and clanks it’s way broodingly along to the chorus, which when it greets you will be a way you’ll want to be greeted daily.
The perfectly crafted tunes keep coming and ‘Joyride’, Muscle Memory deserve a special mention. In reality all ten songs on here do. This album is the perfect sound of the UK Indie scene right now; a perfect mix of harmony, synth, guitar and big choruses. At times it’s easy to hear reverence to the sound of indie-rock’s past – echoes of early Manic Street Preachers intensity, or the ambition of Suede intertwined with the wordplay and bookish intelligence of Idlewild’s Roddy Womble. Yet here that almost Evening Session-esque charm, that late 90’s bombast, meets an angular sound of a modern rock and roll which is 100% The Mirror Trap.
I saw The Mirror Trap when they opened up the stage at ABC 2 in Glasgow back in May’s Stag & Dagger Festival. At the time they were pleasant background music to our arriving in the venue and getting to the bar and I paid them little notice to begin with.
As the performance went on I found myself drawn to their music whereas some of the group I was with were entirely put off by the singer (Gary Moore a man who is not afraid to share his opinions). I guess in that regard they might end up marmite for some.
Simulations is the perfect sound of the UK Indie scene right now; a beautifully honed mix of harmony, synth, guitar and big choruses. I’d recommend you start liking marmite if you don’t already – this album is a corker.