Drab Majesty - Modern Mirror - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Drab Majesty - Modern Mirror

by Tim Sentz Rating:5 Release Date:2019-07-12
Drab Majesty - Mirror Mirror
Drab Majesty - Mirror Mirror

Last month, The Cure celebrated the 30th anniversary of their seminal classic Disintegration. After almost 40 years as a band, they’ve endured critical misfires and writer’s block, only to rise out of the muck as a classic act that just won’t quit. Purveyors of goth rock and darkwave, The Cure ushered in the genres that so many folks either adore or lambast incessantly. Because of this, imitators and homaging millennial acts typically don’t last long in the spotlight. The Twilight Sad had their moment ten years ago, but recycling goth rock becomes stale very fast.

And therein lies the issue with Drab Majesty. The LA band does little to separate themselves from any other act in the genre - and this bodes well for them when it comes to fans specifically looking for a 21st century Cure cover band. Their third album Modern Mirror is the latest in a baffling discography that lacks originality. “A Dialogue” sets the tone with the same lyric repeated over and over again for 4 minutes. This method originates from the 1980s post-punk and darkwave movements and does little to engage anyone outside of the band’s core fanbase. As a newcomer to Drab Majesty, it's an instantly skippable track.

Modern Mirror attempts to pull together the goth-fathers and synth-wizards of the 80s like Tears for Fears and Depeche Mode to craft an album just as derivative as those acts greatest misfires. Drab Majesty also attempts to look all the more artistic with their stage presence of make-up and old lady visor sunglasses. The fact that there are fans who lap this up so easily isn’t surprising. They are competent musicians, it’s not like they recorded an album of poorly executed tracks. It’s just that those tracks all sound the same, and don’t do anything to distinguish Drab Majesty from the hundreds of other imitators.

“Ellipsis” blatantly rips off “Just Like Heaven” during its intro, a move that seems purposeful and not just a coincidence. After that, it’s cookie-cutter lyrics and a hodgepodge of boring trends. It’s a shame, as mastermind Andrew Clinco has produced quality work in the past with Marriages - the experimental rock project he formed with Emma Ruth Rundle. With Drab Majesty the focus is less on the music and more on the theatrics, and there are flourishes of vapidness all over the album.

Nostalgia has always been something over-utilized in modern music, but when done properly we can indulge ourselves into it more. Bands like Preoccupations brought the post-punk of Bauhaus, Talking Heads, and Joy Division to their music, but managed to not just be a rip-off of those icons - instead opting to pay homage but forging their own path. When listening to Modern Mirror, all we hear is a snore. A “been there, done that” band for the 21st century.

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