OUTER MINDS - Behind the Mirror LP/ Red Lounge Records LPs


Co-Release between RED LOUNGE, Resurrection and FDH Records.

This album is the follow up to the bands debut LP on Southpaw earlier in 2012. This record get a little deeper and darker into the world of voodoo psych pop then the first release.


"Outer Minds have become a live staple in their home town of Chicago over the last two years. In 2012, after releasing a handful of singles and a cassette, they showed up with two full-length albums, each with its own distinct sound. Their self-titled album on Southpaw painted them as Nuggets apostles; songs like "Gimmie a Reason" had them slinging bubblegum psych melodies behind vintage reverb and this aesthetic fit with their confetti-throwing set from this year's Pitchfork Music Festival. But while there are songs just as catchy on Behind the Mirror, they're overshadowed by the band's dramatic shift in tone. Here, they aim for "darker" psych, favoring minor-key organ lines over bright, jangling guitar.

One thing that hasn't changed is their energy. "Bohemian Grove" opens with an organ played backwards, which establishes an unsettling vibe, but it breaks into a stomping, tambourine-filled garage banger. The album's highlight is "We Are All Stone", which has the group shouting its vocals in unison. Zach Medearis' voodoo guitar riff is matched by Mary McKane's organ, Brian Costello sticks to the toms to create monolithic backbone alongside bassist A-ron Orlowski, and Gina Lira tests the structural integrity of her tambourine. It's a mid-album burst of force that's tempered by a mid-song cool down; naturally, they pick the energy back up for the track's final stretch.

That's the album at its best. But when Outer Minds push the spooky moodiness it can become tedious. "Look Behind the Mirror" is five minutes long but the song's ever-churning and too-repetitive tropes wear out their welcome after about three. And although the organ can inject mood, sometimes it's laid on too thick. The slow burning, Eastern-tinted guitar line from "Charlemagne" is smothered by the keyboard-- it feels like a missed opportunity. For an album with impressively fluid sequencing and transitions, the duds are all the more hollow and disappointing.

Still, the songwriting on Mirror is good enough to compensate for its missteps. Some of the album's most exciting moments come when they step away from the creepy mask on the album's cover and tap into their pop side, as on "Pleasure Cruise" and "Cool Times". They're upbeat tunes about having fun that showcase the band's knack for melody. It's commendable Outer Minds tried shifting the mood between records, but ultimately, Mirror shows where their strengths lie."

Pressing Information

Black Vinyl