Vixens - Mirrors
Owain Paciuszko 23/04/2010
There's a certain retro sound once Jonathan Clarke's vocals start up on lead track These Hearts They Cannot Love, which makes it all sound remarkably like Blue Oyster Cult; there's a certain nostalgic charm to this and a certain fortune in that this distinctive vocal style prevents their dark rock sound from winding up like so many others on the production line. Instead it sounds like a throwback to lushly produced classic rock tinged with psychedelia and the Gothic.
K1 starts with processed hand-claps, a good omen quickly dashed by the dissapointingly post-punk drum-beat, again though Clarke's vocal magic brings a certain 80's alternative archness to proceedings and elevates things. That's not to belittle his band mates, David Freeman and Danny Crane-Brewer deliver excellent interlaced guitar lines whilst Chris Knollman's bass throbs in the middle distance. Drummer Brent Harbron-Wade picks things up, suitably splashy on the grandiose swaggering choruses, though this track is definitely an instance of needing 'More cowbell!' Pandora follows and sits a little too close to its predecessor in sound, and has some awkward U2-like guitar noodling awkwardly nudging this towards stadium-pop.
Closing track Action/Speak is a big, chunky, lump of atmospheric rock posturing in the best possible way, Clarke shouts; 'Fight my brother, fight!' to glorious effect over suitably grand-standing guitars, slinky bass and mosh-pit encouraging drums. The fact that it feels ready for a large festival crowd on this, their debut EP, is remarkably impressive, the production by Lewis Childs really puts meat on the bones and then gravy on the meat and then a sprig of garnish on that just for good measure. This is a peculiar EP, in some regards it's a big lump of retro cheese with eighties Gothic pop leanings and at the same time and for the same reason's it's absolutely brilliant. A few soggy moments here and there keep it from truly running free, but on these four tracks alone Vixens may be a band to check out now before the queues start forming.