The Irrepressibles - Mirror Mirror
Ten piece ‘performance’ orchestra The Irrepressibles’ Mirror Mirror must surely be one of the most grandiose and fully formed debut albums ever released upon an unsuspecting public. Lush, sweeping orchestral compositions form the epic backdrop for the soaring, honey rich vocals of bandleader Jamie McDermott, positioning the album somewhere between the gentle beauty of Anthony & The Johnsons and the tart, bedsit reality of early Soft Cell. The band have apparently carved themselves something of a reputation for creating iconic live spectacles but, unlike many such performance artistes, the body of work on this album stands alone as a genuinely spectacular collection of music. The temptation must have been to use the orchestra to its full bombastic effect but restraint has been shown and thus there’s a great deal of light and shade, ranging from the fragile introspection of ‘Nuclear Skies’ to the outlandish romance of ‘My Friend Jo’. There are, of course, some flies in the facepaint and the pantomime dame performance of ‘Splish! Splash! Sploo!’ is far too theatrically camp and sickly to bear for more than the briefest of encounters. A unique yet undoubtedly pleasurable experience.