Modern Mirror

Drab Majesty

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Modern Mirror Review

by Matt Collar

Los Angeles' Drab Majesty have carved out a distinctively goth-toned niche in the modern musical landscape with their artfully conceptual brand of '80s-style alternative rock and synth pop. Essentially the solo vehicle of singer/songwriter Andrew Clinco, who performs in an androgynous blond wig and sunglasses under the pseudonym Deb DeMure, Drab Majesty sound like a long-lost 4AD or Corpus Christi label band circa 1984. It's an aesthetic the duo (which also includes keyboardist Alex Nicolaou aka Mona D) first debuted on 2015's Careless, and one they further develop to gloriously atmospheric effect on their third album, 2019's Modern Mirror. The opening "A Dialogue" is a shimmering, slow-burning spire of a song in the tradition of the Cure's "The Kiss" or "Plainsong" that perfectly sets the tone of what's to come. Cuts like "Ellipsis" and "Oxytocin" are more buoyantly delivered anthems built around DeMure's dusky croon, ringing, delayed guitar leads, and heavily revered drum machine beats, a combination that evokes early albums by the Church. Similarly evocative, "Out of Sequence" with its whip-crack beat and DeMure's moody vocals brings to mind the patent-leather swagger of '80s goth icons like Ministry and Bauhaus. However, rather than simply conjuring the work of their influences, Drab Majesty have crafted an album that works on its own merits, with songs that you may want to revisit just as much as your favorite vintage post-punk classic track. There's also a nice emotional arc and flow to the album that speaks to the band's theatrical nature as they recontextualize a kohl-eyed '80s goth aesthetic for the next doom generation.

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