As Blues Pills vocalist Elin Larsson discovered, it is de rigueur that any female vocalist with even the slightest hint of a 70’s influence will be compared to Janis Joplin, or even called “the new Janis Joplin”. Joplin was unique. Her ‘twenty tabs a day’ rasp can’t be schooled, you are either born with it, or you ain’t. In the same way that Jay Buchanan from Rival Sons used to get compared to Robert Plant in the early days, the Joplin comparisons merely serve as a distraction. Marcella Di Troia fronts hot new Belgian band, Black Mirrors. The 70’s influences are there, she is female… the Joplin comparisons have begun. She can wail, that’s for sure, but pushing any comparisons her way will surely just heap pressure on her young shoulders? Leave the female comparisons at the door, and simply enjoy what is a stunning debut from another band taking a classic sound and fast forwarding it a few decades.
Opener, ‘Funky Queen’ is a splendid mix of current day garage rock with a classic vibe. Modern enough for Radio One to play (Royal Blood easily manage it), but not too indie that rock stations would ignore. The track has a superb groove to it that seems natural and unforced, as do the vocals. The screams that proceed the layered vocals on the chorus are hair raising, and Di Troia gets added to the ever-expanding list of young vocalists to look out for. MC5’s ‘Kick Out The Jams’ is the equivalent of ‘Stairway To Heaven’ for young garage rock bands. Here, Black Mirrors resist the urge to tinker with a classic piece too much. The bass-heavy mid section from Gino Caponi is a great touch though. ‘The Mess’ is anything but a mess. A slower, sludgier intro quickly develops into an almighty jam, as the band spread out. Di Troia keeps it low key on a track which I’d imagine the band turn into a mass free for all when played live. No two versions the same, that kind of thing. ‘Canard Vengeur Masque’ rounds the short EP off with a trippy, psychedelic slow-burning gem of a track. The guitar sound from Pierre Lateur is incredible, played with feeling and emotion. Special mention also goes to the beguiling, ethereal vocals from Di Troia as the song fades out. Simply stunning.
As far as introductions to a new band go, this ticks all the boxes and leaves the listener wanting more. Available March 3rd via Napalm Records.
Review: Dave Stott
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