Review Summary: A trip-hop album, with sounds from all corners of the globe, guaranteed to take you on a ride
The Mirror Conspiracy is the 2nd LP of Thievery Corporation, a Washington, D.C.-based recording artist and DJ duo consisting of Rob Garza, Eric Hilton and a group of supporting artists who give off an easy going, jazzy feel not unlike Zero 7
. Yet Thievery Corporation takes a great deal of their influence from the beats heard in India, Brazil, France and Japan as well, making them hard to pinpoint but really easy to listen to, whether that be in a bar/lounge or with a book in the den.
Even if you don't know this album, you'll most likely recognize Lebanese Blond when you hear it as it was featured in the famed Garden State soundtrack – and rightfully so. The hypnotic track, whose name comes from a slang term used to describe particularly high purity Lebanese hashish, manages to gently twist you to each of its whims, keeping you guessing and smiling throughout. Pam Bricker's gentle vocals perfectly match the sitar of Rob Myers, creating a hook that never gets old.
Pam Bricker is also featured on both the Brazilian influenced Air Battacuda and the eponymous Mirror Conspiracy, which could scarcely be more different from one another. In the former, a brazillian drumbeat serves as a rhythmic diversion with Bricker showing she can be a minimalist, fitting in on an as needed bases. In the latter, however, after a low key intro, Bricker’s voice grabs your attention as she comes in and later repeatedly bemoans, ‘All my heart, all of your tears – Our whole world, is smoke and mirrors,’ tantalizingly gripping you with a severe sense of longing and loss.
Another pair of gems on the album are the two French tracks featuring the vocals of Lou Lou, those being Le Monde and Shadows of Ourselves. Though Le Monde is a slow paced and more hypnotic track and Shadows of Ourselves has a more head-bobbing beat, both make perfect use of Lou Lou’s voice as she shows off her range and harmonizes around the percussion and electronic beats that surround her – lingering in your head long after she has stopped singing.
Also worthy of mention is Indra, a song that perhaps typifies the entire album. Making use of a fairly minimalistic style, Indra has enough of a beat to keep you going throughout, yet somewhere in the middle you wake up in a daze, dimly aware of some mystical experience and a vague recollection that a rousing voice and quite a number of foreign instruments have taken you on a trip.
Lastly are the opening and closing tracks of the album. Treasures, the opening track, has overt Jamaican reggae dub vocals on top of a matching electronic beat, while Guide for I and I establishes a beat long before ‘jah jah jah’ starts ringing in the background. The two tracks open and close the album perfectly, sending the message that though this may be an album that could be heard at a lounge in Paris or New York, this is the type of album that could just as easily be flipped on at a reggae club on the other side of the world.
A few mediocre tracks and a lack of their own true sound are the only things keeping this from being a classic, yet after all of the mesmerizing vocalists have sung their chords, all those beats from all corners of the world have finished and all those elements loosely dubbed trip hop and acid jazz no longer emanate from your speakers, you can’t help but want to go through it all again and again.
4.1 / 5