Recording information: Big Orange, Austin; Storage Town, Austin, USA.
On first listen, Mirror Travel's hazy guitars, sluggish tempos, and dazed vocals make them seem like yet another band of shoegaze revivalists. However, they're part of the extensive lineage of Austin psych-rock bands, and kindred spirits to 21st century groups such as Holy Wave and the Black Angels. Mirror Travel take a particularly sun-baked perspective on the genre, and it's no surprise that the album is generally themed around reveling in the hot, sunny weather -- vocalist Lauren Green repeats "the coast is where I'd like to be" over the hypnotic Spacemen 3-indebted shimmy of "I Need the Sun." True to their words, the album was actually recorded right before the band relocated from Austin -- bassist Paul Brinkley left the group and headed to Philadelphia, and Green and drummer Tiffanie Lanmon ended up relocating to Taos, New Mexico along with new bassist Meredith Stoner. So the bandmembers definitely have travel on their minds, but at the same time, they seem satisfied with staying where they are, relaxing and settling into a comfortable groove. On the album's title track, Green repeats "I'm in a cloud," and you don't get the sense that she's complaining about it in the least. Her vocals during the song's verses consist of evenly spaced staccato notes, generally of the same note, but they still sound dreamy and free-floating given the way they're structured. "Yesca" adds a dose of post-punk darkness, with Green raising her voice to a bellow, Lanmon's drums crashing a bit more, and the entire song generally feeling more tense and sinister than the album's preceding songs. "Melt You" is the album's sole uptempo cut, and even though it feels far more urgent than the rest of the album, Green's vocals still feel somewhat calm and reserved. The entire album succeeds at making listeners feel as if they are taking a trip to a sunny, pleasant locale without leaving home. ~ Paul Simpson