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coverpic flag Scotland - Full Moon 183 - 08/13/11

Sons & Daughters
Mirror Mirror
Domino Records / Playground

Scotland's Sons & Daughters have come up with their third album with Mirror Mirror, a raw and direct take on what can easily (maybe too easily) be described as 'new wave' rock. Well, once upon a time it was (for some years 'indie-rock' has been the term), way back in the post-punk era of the late 1970s, early 1980s. Later on new waves of new wave, and newer waves of new wave have appeared. I'm not saying Sons and Daughters sound just old-fashioned. They're also the sound of the 00s. But rock music is basically about revisiting roots, isn't it?

Sons & Daughters is Adele Bethel's band (Conceived while touring with fellow Glaswegians Arab Strap in 2001). The quartet counts Adele Bethel (vocals, guitar, piano), Scott Paterson (vocals, guitar), David Gow (drums) and Ailidh Lennon (bass, mandolin, piano), and the result is, at least for this album, an intense and raw mash of indie rock. The twin-vocal "duels" of Bethel and Paterson give the music quite a lot of nerve, and there's quite a lot of gloom and dark shadows in their songs. Sons & Daughters somewhat remind me of the AuPairs, hence the 80s new wave reference. The boy/girl vocals also make me recall an early 80s US band, the rather obscure The Swimming Pool Qs. Just check out "Breaking Fun", and you don't dare to disagree.

"Silver Spell" is the 'title track' of the album, referring (mirroring) to this mirror (German impressionism?) throughout the refrain. "Ink Free" is quite spooky with its white noise and scissor rhythm. "Rose Red" is another Swimming Pool Qs sound-a-like, and it's one of the cooler tracks. Along with "Bee Song" and the closing "The Beach".

Mirror Mirror is a tense, wound-up, wired, raw and electric record. As Scott Paterson said: "We sound better when we're more minimal. We wanted everything on the new album to be necessary, no added fluff." Even though parts of the album is rather fascinating, I'm not all convinced.

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