artist: Shining Mirrors
featured track: "Cardiac"
For most bands, a day job gets in the way.
“These songs were all recorded in our loft,” says Shining Mirrors front man, Drew Robinson. “Drums and all. Fortunately, I’m the building manager. That’s my day job.”
The first thing we hear on the new self-titled EP from the Brooklyn-based band, which in addition to Robinson on Vocals and Guitar, features Reni Lane on Bass, and on these recordings, Drums by William Kuehn and Parker Kindred, is Lane telling her bandmates to “try it again.” It’ll remain a mystery as to whether the previous take of opening cut “Cardiac” just wasn’t up to snuff, but boy did they get it right on the one that made it.
The EP (out Nov. 3rd) contains this song, along with four more tunes that Shining Mirrors thoughtfully describes as “dark garage” music, but that former NME writer Matt Wilkinson simply conveyed via tweet as “awesome stuff.” These new recordings offer a more fully realized sound for the group that put out its debut batch of songs in early 2017 during the group’s initial formation. The current Shining Mirrors lineup now includes Lakis Pavlou (who also mixed these tracks) permanently taking the reins on Drums.
“My biggest musical influences are Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix,” Robinson says, exposing some deep roots. As such, Shining Mirrors is not Robinson’s first rodeo. The efficient beauty of “awesome stuff,” devoid of anything superfluous, is hard to come by in today’s songwriters. “I want to say as much as I can in as few words as possible,” Robinson explains. “When there’s nothing there that doesn’t need to be there, that’s when the song is done.”
Regarding his roots, he remembers, “I lived in the suburbs of Baltimore during my teens. I recorded a string of albums in my bedroom under various pseudonyms, and I played in a band called Four Fifty One. We had some mild success. We toured. We released an EP. Then I followed my girlfriend to New York and played in a band called BRAHMS. We toured. We imploded.”
While living out this familiar rock n’ roll story, Robinson had the name Shining Mirrors in the back of his mind the whole time. In 2012 he took it into the land of the living.
“As a human, your eyes never see your own face,” he explains of the moniker’s significance – the “Mirrors” specifically. “What you see is a reflection of yourself. All art, film, painting, literature, etc. is a mirror.”
“It implies a moment of clarity, something that’s crystal clear, like the kind of epiphany that burns your eyes. It’s like the moment when you finally realize something you’ve been thinking about for 20 years.”
For those indie-rock, power-pop, dark-garage, awesome-stuff fans in the house, please rejoice in the fact that it’s only taken a fraction of that time for Robinson to realize his vision for Shining Mirrors, though perfection is always a pursuit.
“Songwriting is like a garden. Writing songs is like growing tomatoes,” he says. “I can plant the seed, water it, and pull away the dead leaves, but it’s the soil and the sun that make it. I just pluck the fruit. From the first kernel of an idea to the moment a song is born can take years, and I’ve literally been trying to make this EP for five years,” he continues. “This is the first time where all the elements feel right.”
“Feels right” is a good way to describe that opening number “Cardiac,” which is also the new EP’s first single.
“It’s a song about seeing a girl in a subway car, falling in love, and watching her go her separate way up the stairs, and never seeing her again,” Robinson explains of the tune, which might seem like an ordinary concept, but its simplicity is actually deceptive. “The conflict comes with the brain reminding you of ‘the girl at home,’ but the heart pounding for the person in front of you.”
The latest EP from Brooklyn-based threesome Shining Mirrors arrives on Nov. 3rd, 2017, preceded by the single “Cardiac,” streaming now.