Serial Killer Electro Indie
After three years out, Glasgow's Sons and Daughters have announced their return to the UK indie scene. "Mirror Mirror" is the foursome's third(ish) full length release and left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. That's the perfect way for me to describe it. Scottish band, on Domino, returning from three years in exile, citing things like Scottish serial killer Bible John as influences? This should be an easy slice of Scots cool, the audio equivalent of an Ian Rankin novel. The result is more of an industrious affair, with an almost goth brooding to it.
Before we go on though, a quick rant – duelling, duetting, stereo. Whatever you want to call it, the gimmick gets tired quickly. Used on five of the opening six tracks, Adele Bethal and Scott Paterson try to complement each other but it just sounds creepy after a while. There's a place for it, certainly, but using it sparingly would surely create a better effect. You can investigate this yourself with the free download of 'Silver Spell' that served as their returning warning shot, a deceptive change in the direction of the band to electro molasses. That pace doesn't actually represent them, as the next few tracks are quicker. Sons and Daughters do handle both equally well however.
Going back to the vocal thing, the otherwise excellent 'Bee Song' is almost wrecked by Bethal's whispering. It's not sexy, atmospheric or emotional; it only evoked images of a low-rent chat line. The rest of her work on that song, oddly enough, is fantastic with just the right amount of desperation to go with the guitars, which are a consistent highlight throughout.
That said, there are three definite bright spots on this. 'Orion', 'Rose Red' and 'Axed Actor' have a disarming charm about them, sounding like what this band are capable of, 'Rose' in particular has a hint of a Tarantino soundtrack about it with that sort of chiming guitars and an understated vocal performance which does the job brilliantly.
I guess this is the stock internet era LP. Made for the download stores with three or four standouts, the rest is forgettable filler. Actually, perhaps that's too harsh. This is probably the sort of thing that John Rebus would listen to late into the evening trapped inside his tenement from start to finish. Whether or not that's your thing will determine your liking of this effort.