Balms’ debut album is like a deep, dark secret. Their sound is moody and like a slow burn, Mirror becomes an impressive haunt.
No surprise amongst the hometown San Jose music community, they have been building up for this moment for years. Will it dissapoint? Gaining traction, the shoegaze community took notice. Mirror became something to look forward to.
“Bones” is a great jumping off point. This dark ode recessed in deep, personal feelings work like a canonical mass giving thanks to the ‘90s college rock gods. Set on a sonic level, the song’s build-up is so subtle, you are not quite sure where it hits you or when they dive into a low. Their songwriting is a like a continental drift.
“Dark Rider” continues with a deep penetrating rhythm that borders on tribalism. Six minutes and it weighs down on you like a cesspool of self-deprecation. The basswork is thick and dredgy. Get comfortable because many of the songs sit like a brooding nightmare.
Balms – Plane
“I Feel Fine” turns dream pop into a sense of sarcasm as dark undertones take over. As we know dream pop can easily turn dark and the mixture between the two is effective. A paradise lost through diligence that brings a sense of awareness to Balms’ introspectiveness.
Building on simplicity of sound and skewing them into distorted proportions, the band makes a point on the personal reflection of themselves. A duality between light and dark, “Candle” feels so familiar while drifting so far away from the median of modern rock. They conjure up the internal best while confronting the monkey on their backs. There is danger in mystique all wrapped into one, creating a sobering reality.
If you want truth and actuality, Balms hold nothing back. Laying all the cards down on the table, where do they go next? More sound? Purgatory to Paradise? Or, do they continue the journey through the underworld of human emotions? Whatever it may be, Mirror is dense and encompassing in the way a proper shoegaze album should be.