Review of Broken Mirror in Brutal Resonance
Toronto based Double Eyelid has been (self) described about the place as “art damaged goth glam gutter” music. However for the purpose of this release Broken Mirror I am going to go with “EBM Goth rock with a bit of artyness thrown in” assuming you need a genre to help you along. Formed in 2009, Double Eyelid is the trio of singer Ian Revell with guitarist Karl Mohr and keyboardist Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip with a drum machine.
Broken Mirror is essentially 11 remixed tracks from the album Seven Years in 2014, but as I haven’t heard the album I can assure you this works well as a piece of its own. What drew me to wanting to hear this release was that two remixes were done by bands (Leaether Strip/Psyche) I have been a fan of for a very long time and been fortunate to work with myself, so my interest was piqued and I am happy to say I was not disappointed.
Leaether Strip’s remix of ‘The Stranger’ opens the album and sets the rest of the tracks up well. The first thing I thought of when I heard the track was the familiarity of the LS sound and that the vocals of Ian Revell were not dissimilar to Matt Johnson though somewhat more breathy and maybe a little more intense and emotional and that impression happily continues throughout the album.
The Reactive Black remix of ‘Black Box’ follows and it has the classic hallmarks of goth styled love songs with big guitars, clean beats, weird background pads,chorus vox, steady basslines and that breathy dramatic vocal. EBM steps back in for the Tyler Milchmann remix of ‘Dead Is Better’ which was the single and video from the album. Clean crisp and slightly unnerving in the best of ways.
‘Woman Hanged’ (nTTx remix) is a punchy bassline of a track with guitar stabs and almost industrial sweeps throughout the background with the again whispery vocals that by now make you, for now, forget the Matt Johnson similarity and enjoy them for what they are in amongst the music. Psyche’s remix of ‘Black Box’ follows and takes us through a cold/darkwave version of the original track. Tinkling piano with minimal bass and beats. A beautiful version and nothing less than expected from Psyche.
Dead Red Velvet (also the guitarists project) gives us an almost ten minute version of ‘Diamond Cutter’. I love this track and as such it now sits in my DJ folder of tracks to play. A wall of sounds and beats that grow and grow and grow and almost overwhelm you. Just as its about to get too much noise to discern, it drops out to the effected vocals and rolls through various bits of the intro sounds and beats. Ten minutes goes through quickly as there are acid basslines, trance, guitars and different beats that keep it interesting all the way through. The stand out track on the release I believe.
The Matt Johnson comparison really shows through again with the DJ Cruel Britannia remix of ‘She’s Falling’ and brings us nicely back to a goth tinged feeling which feels closer to the concept of Double Eyelid although with more synth-bass and pad involvement. ‘Dead Is Better’ gets another work over, this time, from Lanada. This version sees more of a chaotic instrumental attack with drops, rises, female vox and a more of a clubby track feel to it.
The Klomb remix of ‘The Stranger’ is the shortest track on ‘Broken Mirror’ with lots of punchy beats, old school acid techno sounds, drops and breaks. ‘Cold is Better’ is again a more minimal version of what’s already been on the release and adds some rollicking guitar and deep heavy basslines to push the track through nicely.
We finish up with the sonically disturbing (in a good way) Double Echo remix of Woman Hanged titled ‘Hanged in Dub’. And plenty of that awesome dub style is in there in the way of echos and reverb in and out of the track smothering and enlightening the vox. Brilliant.
Broken Mirror as said before, is 11 tracks running at just under the 65 minute mark and while there are 6 originals remixed, they are varied and interesting enough that this release stands well on its own as an album to listen to. With some remix-only releases, you do get the feeling you’re listening to the same song with a slightly different *thing* happening in it. Thankfully, with Double Eyelids Broken Mirror you don’t get that vibe, which in itself isn’t an easy task to achieve. There are great songs for DJs to use in pretty much all the EBM/goth/gothrock genres as well as being a great album to just plug in and play loud.
I suggest you go and do just that!