Like most artists, The Mirror Trap just needed that little bit of luck to get them on their way. After they self-released their debut album Stay Young in 2014, the Scottish five-piece band got that lucky break when they were spotted by Placebo’s Brian Molko in their home town of Dundee.
What followed was a whirlwind couple of years which included supporting Placebo on a Trans-Siberian train tour of Russia, playing at the iTunes festival in London and then on Placebo’s 2015 tour.
The Mirror Trap’s second album, Simulations, is similar to Placebo in the fact that it’s full of sheer, raw energy that doesn’t let up from the the first song. That’s where the similarities end though as singer Gary Moore leads us snarling, spitting and screaming through ten tracks that range from the pounding opener Under The Glass Towers to the anthemic Something About Forever.
There’s a wonderful throwback to the nineties sound on Simulations, as the swirling, reverberating guitar licks are blended with pounding drums and deliberately prominent synth and keys. This is not an album to be played quietly. Lyrically, most of the songs on the album tell us what we’re all afraid to admit – that our modern identity is one that’s addicted to technology and we’re losing the ability to communicate face-to-face. The superb Something About Forever opens with – “When you touch me I get sick/overwhelmed and dissapointed/I prefer a double click every time” and on Muscle Memory, Moore tells us – “Lately I’ve been feeling electronic/waking up and never asking why”.
The energy seems to let up on the ballad-esque Joyride, but not for long. Lyrically, Moore doesn’t hold back – “We drank so much that we couldn’t stand/ so we fucked where we fell/and we called it modern romance.” As the piano-led song progresses, the introduction of the guitars and drums cleverly and beautifully rises and falls, but eventually culminates in a crescendo of Moore screaming – “You’re perfect/You’re perfect and you’re mine”, sadistically down the microphone.
The appeal of Simulations lies in the way it evokes memories of the teenage angst that bands like Placebo and Manic Street Preachers dished out in the nineties but instead of instilling anguish, it brings about a feeling of nostalgia. This is an album that’s unusual in the sense that will appeal to both young and old generations, those that are worried about what the future holds to those that no longer care. For those in the latter category, it just means the sound can be cranked all the way up to eleven. And with the amount of energy Simulations has, it just begs to be played at full volume.
The Mirror Trap’s Simulations is released July 8th 2016 on Vinyl Junkie Recordings.
This Mirror Trap article was written by Neil Stopforth, a GIGsoup contributor