In Rotation: Sons & Daughters' 'Mirror Mirror'
A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers & contributors are listening to right now...
Earthquakes, floods, financial meltdowns — dark times call for dark records, and Scotland's Sons & Daughters has an ominous one with album No.4. Those familiar with the band's history will notice almost immediately that the rootsy polish of 2008's “This Gift” is gone. In its stead are spacious rhythms and burrowing synths, sounds that feel as if they're on the prowl for only the darkest of shadows.
The steady, thunderous claps of “Silver Spell” feel almost sacrificial, while the guitars of “Breaking Fun” don't riff so much as look for tangents, all while Adele Bethel stalks the lead vocals of Scott Paterson with a wordless, call-and-response taunt. Throughout, Ailidh Lennon's bass serves as the Gothic anchor, be it on the industrial punk of “Don't Look Now” or the tension-filled groove of “Axed Actor.”
The makeover has shaved some of the act's rock 'n' roll momentum, but it has allowed Sons & Daughters to pick its spots. The spindly guitars of “Rose Red” could be echoing off deserted alleyways, and Bethel sings as if she's on the run. It might be the loudest moment on the album, but one of many that are downright bracing.
Sons & Daughters
Image courtesy Ground Control Booking / Domino Records