The Mirror Dance
The Mirror Dance is the solo debut from San Francisco resident Russ, who has decided to branch out on his own after years spent in whimsically named bands such as Liquid Cactus, Bag of Nickels and Megelen. It’s a curiously sprawling affair, demonstrating Russ’s love for British psychedelia and jazzy West Coast acid rock, all filtered through the wonderful world of 1990s lo-fi aesthetics. The opening track “Day” is a strong and wistful stab at psych-prog, like Kevin Ayers caught hanging out with Syd Barrett, while “Hush” is seasoned with some nice dashes of reggae.
Several fine moments and surprising turns mark Russ as an artist worth keeping an eye upon, although he nearly ruins it all towards the end. The Casio indie jazz of “Layers Of My Beating Heart,” a purposeless 11-minutes long acid jam called, err, “When Vitamins Fail” and the droll ambient blues that is “For Solitude,” all threaten to wash out the memory of the good stuff that came before. Some solid editing would have rescued this from mediocrity, but you can always program your CD player. The Mirror Dance definitely has its moments, and is at times an intriguing (if certainly uneven) first album.