There are many examples of musical eccentricity. Christmas On Mars, The Flaming Lips' 2008 sci-fi epic, saw Wayne Coyne dress as a green skinned, pink leather coat wearing spaceman for nearly an hour and a half. Back in 2002 The Polyphonic Spree gave us matching robes, acted rather cultist and sang about finding their ‘Soldier Girl’ whilst riding around on a school bus.
This then brings us nicely to Mirror Mirror, the debut full-length album from The Irrepressibles. The music of this ten-piece ‘performance orchestra’ led by one Jamie McDermott is butterscotch sweet, but like so much wonderful work before it is completely of its rocker. Certainly this record fits neatly amongst the great repository of out there moments in pop music. Halfway through your natural inclination to cry ‘what on Earth is THIS?’ is working overtime as you try and dissect all its influences. The second half will have you crying like a child as a softer instrumentation and cosier warmth take over proceedings.
To say that The Irrepressibles come across as anything less than decadent would be a grave understatement. However, this is not to say that Mirror Mirror is filled with self-indulgence. There’s true cunning to the work as burlesque, art, theatre, classical and pop music blurs around McDermotts impossibly delicate falsetto voice.
Heavenly in sound and texture the songs sound as though they could have been dregged up from either an early Walt Disney animation or the latest Danny Elfman / Tim Burton collaboration. This album has twelve macabre tomes to lift most souls and manages to find that difficult balance of holding something for almost all music fans to enjoy. There’s wit, bitching and tenderness in the lyrics and tracks such as ‘My Friend Jo’ ‘Knife Song’ and ‘Splish! Splash! Sploo!’ are just top, top tunes.
Conceptual? Perhaps. High art? Maybe. Who cares though for this is damn fine craftsmanship, a true pageantry of the fantastically weird and wonderful.
8Nicholas Sell's Score