Vanity Mirror: Puff [Album Review]

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Vanity Mirror
We Are Busy Bodies [2023]

The duo of Toronto-based Brent Randall (Gentle Brent) and Los Angeles-dwelling Johnny Toomey (The Turns) is known for their previous achievements with the Los Angeles-based baroque-pop group, The Electric Looking Glass. Both musicians complement each other stylistically as Vanity Mirror’s debut album shows their knack for crafting songs that are both instantly catchy and deeply meaningful. Puff is a dreamy and nostalgic journey through the world of ’60s pop, drawing influences from the British Invasion bands of the era while infusing their music with a distinct American lo-fi flavor.

The album opens with “(I First Saw You There On) Tinpot Lane,” a swirling psychedelic pop song that wears its vintage salute to the ’60s on its sleeve. It is the perfect introduction to Vanity Mirror and sets the stage for their slightly lo-fi pop that oozes classic rhythms and warm textured sounds. The song is followed by the equally impressive “Tuesday’s News,” a more upbeat foot-tapper that features great little guitar solo runs and gives off major George Harrison vibes. The album continues in this vein, with each song more delightful than the last.

Some other highlights of the album include “Somehow You Know,” a dreamy and atmospheric ballad about making sense of things without being able to verbalize it, and “Dandelion Wish,” a sophisticated bedroom pop number for wayward situationships that blends soft nylon strumming with sparkling electric jangle and a playful mellotron in the backdrop.

Overall, Puff is a solid debut album that encapsulates the spirit of the 1960s and early 1970s, blending the energy and attitude of rock and roll with the melodic sensibilities of pop music. Vanity Mirror’s music has a timeless quality and a sense of nostalgia, harkening back to the golden era of rock while also forging their own modern path.

“Tuesday’s News” / “Somehow You Know” / “Dandelion Wish”

The Idle Race / Olivia Tremor Control / Sloan

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Christopher Anthony

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