First impressions count for a lot. In an age where music is so easily accessible and the average person’s attention span is barely long enough to cope with anything more than a three-minute-long single, it’s pretty important for an album to have an immediate impact.
Not that you need to tell Scottish six-piece " href="http://www.thelineofbestfit.com/artist/The Moth & The Mirror">The Moth & The Mirror how to make a decent record, mind you. Made up of members of The Reindeer Section and Arab Strap, Frightened Rabbit and Admiral Fallow, the line-up of this band reads like a ‘who’s who’ of Scottish music over the past decade or so.
However, their debut album, Honestly, This World, doesn’t get off to the most explosive start. Pedestrian, unimaginative and, frankly, quite dull, the opening track ‘Everyone I Know’ initially seems to be setting up the entire album to be a monumentally mediocre flop. Until two minutes in, that is. As the mood lightens and the chords shift from minor to major, Stacey Sievwright promises “You’ll be OK” – and it seems as if her reassurances are starting to ring true. And, just like that, everything suddenly makes sense.
Because there is more than one side to this album. There’s no better example of this than the schizophrenic six-minute-long ‘Boxes’, which abruptly morphs from a gentle, half-whispered lullaby into a raucous, scuzzy beast. Meanwhile, ‘Fire‘ is a sparkling nugget of lovely guitar pop, with dual vocals from Sievwright and Gordon Skene, while ‘Germany’, the album’s strongest track and first single, has a chorus that most indie bands would give their right arm to have written.
The spine-tingling ‘Closing Doors’ demonstrates The Moth & The Mirror’s softer side, its production giving it a comforting, nostalgic feel, while ‘Beautiful Creature’ sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a Glaswegian Spaghetti Western – a Spaghetti Northern, perhaps? Or maybe a Haggis Western? Or what about – eh? Oh OK, I’ll leave it there…
First impressions might count for a lot, but, as Honestly, This World proves, they aren’t everything. The Moth & The Mirror’s impressive musical bloodline is plain to hear on this album, and it will come as a relief to all fans of Scottish indie music to hear that, unlike so many, this is a ‘supergroup’ that actually works – really, really well. Diverse, dynamic, and sprinkled with moments of pure beauty, Honestly, This World is easily as good as (if not better than) the sum of its parts – proof that it really is a very fine album indeed.