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The lasting power of The Cure and Depeche Mode is no accident. There is something soothing about losing yourself in the swirling fog of dark wave music. Guitar pedals heavy on chorus and synth-laden atmospheres dance together in sadness and everyone looks beautiful in black. We may initially fall for its sway as disaffected teens but it remains a part of us forever. On Modern Mirror, Drab Majesty weave a hypnotic album into our imaginations with echoes of yesterday and tomorrow.
The duo of Deb Demure and Mona D carefully construct characters that are devoid of identity so nothing distracts from the music. Gender becomes neutralized and emotions are poked and prodded in search of something, anything, that we can feel. The music shifts between the grey shades of Joy Division and the explosive colors of New Order in equal measure. Without sounding nostalgic, the band still conjures up an impressive reflection of the bands that built the genre. Much like Magic Dance and this undying love of 80s AOR, Drab Majesty are moving the dark wave scene forward while reminding us of the excellent bands that inspired them.
Opener “A Dialogue” casts a hypnotic spell that serves as a bridge between your own reality and the world of Drab Majesty. It’s repetitive words and music tug at you over and over until you are forced to step deeper into the band’s hazy realm. The melodic hooks are then deployed on driving tunes like “Ellipsis” and “Oxytocin” as shimmering guitars capture the distant burn of stars at night. Finding slimmers of hope in all this tragedy, Modern Mirror slowly reveals itself to be an album worthy of the bands it echoes.