mirrorsigns’ Within Union is a psychedelic trip
On Halloween, mirrorsigns released their first, full-length LP, Within Union. The Philly band’s debut record is an expansive, vibrant exploration through the known and unknown, neatly packaged like a little white tab of acid. The references to hallucenogenic drugs aren’t subtle, either: in “Motorbike,” frontman Charles Moon sings “You can slip / a little bit / of LSD / into my tea.” Beyond the obvious nods, mirrorsigns is clearly a band who favors thick production, weighed down by layers of reverb, noise, and distortion: Within Union is full of swirling psychedelia that lures you in before knocking you off balance.
Within Union is a striking debut for the fledgling band. The varied production across the album careens wildly between shimmering, bass-heavy shoegaze and searing guitar solos, most evident on deeply compelling cuts like album opener “Hypnosis.” Opening with an ambient wash that floats gently from ear to ear, Moon’s heavily reverberated vocals slowly fade in, before joined by a myriad of guitar and bass textures. Suddenly, the track explodes: Moon asks “Where are you going to?” over a wailing guitar and thick bass riffs.
“Elsewhere,” on the other hand, contains striking bass riffs, and free-wheeling guitar lines, moving entirely away from the soupy, reverberated textures that dominate the majority of Within Union. The track is devoid of Moon’s vocal textures, instead allowing the rest of the band — Brandon Howard on guitar, James Malriat on drums, and Ryan Navin on bass — to jam, engulfed in a heavy, psychedelic haze. Jimi Hendrix feels like a consistent sonic reference across the album, though “Elsewhere” is perhaps the best example.
The majority of the album presents vivid, hazy soundscapes, abounding with neon-colored guitar lines, unexpected melodic progressions, and constant left turns. It’s easy to parse out the brilliance of the ideas presented across Within Union, though the actual execution leaves something to be desired. Moon’s vocals are buried in the mix of a few tracks (most notably in “Sharp Gods”), and some of the longer cuts overstay their welcome, either retreading on familiar terrain too many times, or containing too many variations on existing melodies. Apart from these nit-picks, the album is a gem, and we’ll be eagerly awaiting to see where mirrorsigns goes from here.
Listen to mirrosigns’ Within Union below and grab a download here.