Spokane’s Mirror Mirror reminds me of getting lost in rural North Dakota. The roads are some of the straightest in the world, paved over the vast, empty prairie, and without a phone or map you could drive for days. Mirror Mirror’s Melodramatic Popular Music, a collection of the band’s recordings from 2008 to present, evokes this sense of being lost. The archetypical lo-fi shoegaze actually induces some anxiety in its minor keys and loose ends on songs like “U,” with vocals appearing like a loud whisper from down a hallway. “I lost all consciousness,” we hear on a track of the same name, and it feels like the sun is going down on an empty road.
The benefit to a retrospective album like this is that it shows lead man Jason Campbell’s growth and spectrum. A few tracks are demos lifted from 2013’s full-length Segments, which had a more pointed and upbeat direction and featured more singing. Some songs on Melodramatic come off sunnier than the rest, like “Legend in the House of Strangelove” and “I Won’t Breathe a Word.” But Mirror Mirror is at its best with tracks like “Strangers,” where bursts of creepy keys and fuzzed-out guitars swallow Campbell’s already indiscernible lyrics.
Mirror Mirror plays the Badlander for Camp Daze Fri., July 11, with Holy Land, Mesozoic Mafia and Normal Babies at 10 PM. $6 for the Badlander showcase or $20 for the three-day Camp Daze wristband. Visit campdazemusic.com.