Vanity Mirror is the first studio album by Austin-based prog rock group Interns. The album is a string of carefully-crafted instrumentals. Each song assumes its own distinct character, yet they all mesh enough for a wordless story to be told.
“Intro” is an epic seven-minute journey of builds and falls. There are aesthetics of sorrow and loneliness during the more serene moments of the song, but Interns makes sure to maintain an overall neutral feel; not really one theme or another. This track, as an intro should do, left me on the fence about what to expect next. They give you a taste of their flavor, yet gradually let you into their world.
That brings me to my next point - patience. Interns is never too quick to build a song. They take their time to establish a mood, and then they erupt. This could be attributed to the band’s apparent chemistry, as they’ve been jamming on-and-off for three years now.
Some songs, they noted, even took that long to make. Interns told us that each member is a contributor; one person establishes a framework, and the others work to fill the spaces around it. The group even had some special guests on the album, like violinist Sungkyung Woo, who makes “Drone Boys” more cinematic, while never taking away from the band itself.
And fill the spaces is exactly what they do. “Waves” is filled with spacey, reverberated and distorted guitars that create a really comprehensive sound - similar to a lot of tracks on My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless.
The intricate nature of their songwriting is a huge plus. Though the whole project is pretty diverse and filled with surprise, “Drone Boys” is a track in which I couldn’t really expect what was going to happen next.
Nothing stays in one place which is why this album is gripping from front-to-back, minus the practically drum-less interlude when I wanted James Bauer to shred like he does on “Blood On The Water.” I guess that backing off is the purpose of the interlude; just letting the record breathe for two minutes. I didn’t think that an interlude was necessary because of how dynamic Vanity Mirror is as a whole. There are small interludes in every song.
This band has a lot of promise going forward. Expect to see some more projects coming from Interns in the future, just maybe not too soon. Some songs on this record took years of refining, as the band’s specificity shows and pays in interest.
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