Flying Saucer Attack
Despite the somewhat cheesy cover art (featuring a pretty standard-looking psychedelic ball and rainbow swirls), Flying Saucer Attack have added to their already fairly solid back catalogue with another good release in Mirror. Even more eclectic than their last release New Lands, it ranges from loud tracks with distorted washes of guitars to pretty, acoustic numbers, and even a couple tracks with a bit of a drum and bass injection. Even with all that, though, it still manages to flow fairly well and Dave Pierce is showing why some are considering him as sort of the continuation of My Bloody Valentines Kevin Shields, perhaps sort of picking up where the latter left off in creating shimmering guitar tracks while not managing to stagnate either.
The album opens with the fittingly titled "Space (1999)" and it's actually one of the more stripped-down tracks on the disc. Only using two guitar parts on the track (one a subtle, droning feedback and the other a shimmering, sliding one) and vocals, Pierce creates a drifting, lazy track that leads into the album rather nicely. Of course, the very next track "Suncatcher" is even more simple, with just an acoustic guitar (with a few mild effects added post) and vocals by Pierce. After the two opening tracks, it may make you wonder whether the entire album is going to completely drift in the ether.
Fortunately, the third track answers that question by adding a quiet, chugging beat to layers of shimmering guitars and the breathy vocals that are present on nearly every track. As the longest track on the album, it's also the one that has the most in common with the material on New Lands as it also adds a nice bassline and a reversed drum loop for even more layers. After another acoustic track (with just a touch of feedback in the distance for good measure), the album gets cranked up a bit with the thick, pulsing beat on "Chemicals" and grimy, distorted vocals. Instead of a crystaline shimmer as many of the first tracks took on, it seems like nearly every element in the track has some sort of filter applied to it and its off-kilter, gritty rhythm sort of throws things off a bit.
The album does get back on course, though, and the very next track is one of those tracks that layers tons of different elements, yet still manages to wash over you with subdued sound. Nearly the exact opposite is the next track "Wintersong," which drops an almost jungle beat in behind hazy guitars and a warbling bass. The juxtaposition of speedy beats and droning guitars works pretty well, but the sped-up hip-hop beats of "Dust" manage to sound even better coupled with duel acoustic and plucked electric guitar (without any feedback!). As is fairly apparent, the album does go in some different directions, which is possibly kind of a surprise given that it's less of a group affair than the last release. Pierce wrote all the tracks himself except for 2, and while it does veer a bit from some older material, it's still a fairly understandable progression for the group.