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Versus the Mirror and Action Reaction…

Posted on Thursday, May 4th, 2006 @ 8:51am » permalink

Versus the Mirror - Home"Home" is the debut full-length from Arizona's Versus the Mirror and marks another very solid screamy emo kind of release from Equal Vision Records. The first thing that hit me about this band was that I kept waiting and waiting and expecting the big "singing part" to kick in – but it never did! They're pretty dynamic musically in terms of balancing heaviness and shimmery clean passages with hints of grating aggression scattered throughout the otherwise generally melodic rhythmic pulses, but the vocals are just relentless screams through and through, they never play into the formula by switching over to singing vocals, which is actually a pretty cool surprise. Of course, that being said, this is not something that I would consider to be particularly original. It's a little crisper and more "polished" than the über-D.I.Y.-underground type of screamo stuff (you know, the kind of thing where everything comes in a hand-screened sleeve with flowers pressed into the paper or whatever – though I must point out that the layout on this CD is slick as fuck and uses loads of gorgeous gloss finish patterns throughout), but it does still have a certain ruggedness around the edges. So I guess that, as usual, it all boils down to the songwriting for me: Strong riffs and memorable arrangements hold my attention, and these dudes are in a good position in terms of neither sounding "cheap" (i.e. overly simplistic) nor "artsy". They seem to be settled into a fairly consistent niche of what they do best, and that's what they do – pushing the boundaries out just a tad without diving off the deep end. Hey, what can I say? I like it.

Versus the Mirror "Birthed by Architecture"
Versus the Mirror "Barracuda Capital of the World"

Those aren't necessarily the best songs herein, but since the label's already provided a few different sample tracks from the disc I don't want to give away too much more, and as I said, it's pretty consistent, so these are as strong an example as any, I suppose. If you like it, pick it up:

@ RevHQ
@ Very Distribution

Action Reaction - s/tAnother Equal Vision debut (though technically on the Hope Division imprint, which presently remains a mystery due to an uninformative website) comes in the form of a self-titled four-song EP from Action Reaction, which is only available online or at shows. For those unaware (as was I until I recognized the voice), this is the new band from former Further Seems Forever vocalist Jason Gleason. I'm certainly not going to sit here and compare Action Reaction to Further Seems Forever, because Further Seems Forever was one of the greatest bands ever, and this is an entirely different entity, so that's that. I imagine this will still appeal to the emo/indie type of crowd, and of course the vocal performance still has that same sort of quality to it, but this material's a little more "hip" (but tolerably so, it's important to note) in terms of experimenting with some quirky electronic tidbits and generally more… I don't know, "eccentric" writing tactics? They seem to bounce back and forth between catchy and somewhat straightforward material that has that expected punch to it and stuff that's a little more laidback and atypical (to a degree) for the type of audiences associated with both the label and the "ex-member" factor – neither of which should be all that important to the big picture, but the topic does apply, so… Whatever you want to call it, this is good stuff overall, and personally I'll be quite curious to hear a full-length effort from these folks.

Action Reaction "Sinner's Algebra"

Unless you plan on checking out Action Reaction on tour, grab this one direct from the label since it's not available elsewhere:

@ Equal Vision Records


  1. pa.chris says:

    Cool post–The Versus the Mirror stuff is good although I tend to think it could actually use a little break in the screamo style from time to time as the singer isn't a great screamer.

    Action Reaction is a little too hip from the sounds of that song but in an intersting, make me want to hear more, kind of way.

  2. reno says:

    both of em are pretty good
    but im curious about another equal vision release "sounds of animal fighting" you have that on hand andrew? and one more thing i heard that cult of luna is out with the new album..but i cant find it in any stores..i can special order them for 29 dollar..that's too much..have you heard their new material?


    I'm curious to hear a few other new-ish Equal Vision releases but the only other one I have on hand is the new Boy Sets Fire (upon which I'm still undecided). Hopefully I'll get to check out more soon…

    The new Cult of Luna comes out next week (May 11th). I have a shitty slipcase promo sitting on my desk at home but I haven't listened to it yet because after the Decapitated debacle I fear those damn voiceovers might be present or something, ha…

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