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imperativereaction mirror
Artist: Imperative Reaction
Title: Mirror
Genre: Electro-Industrial-Pop
Release Date: 15th January 2021
Label: Metropolis Records

Album Review

Every-one needs a holiday. It goes without saying really. A change of scenery, recharge the batteries, maybe find inspiration in the local seafood or while vowing to never drink again. And when bands take a holiday, it can take a very long time indeed. IMPERATIVE REACTION - the Electronic-Industrial-Pop act from the USA built around Ted Phelps - managed to release six albums between 1999 and 2011, which is a reasonably good work rate and one perhaps deserving of a ten-year holiday. Which they promptly took. Back now, with new album ‘Mirrors’, was it enlightenment on the hippy trail, or too many burgers and chips that lured creativity from its resting place once more?

There’s certainly more focus on the vocals, which to be honest are the make-or-break factor in this genre, riddled as it is with generic, reedy singing over formulaic so-called anthemic melody. If Sven Friedrich of SOLAR FAKE is the benchmark, as indeed he should be (a man who sounds like he’s planning your death while trying to seduce you) then the vocals on ‘Mirrors’ deserve special attention. There’s a range of emotion spread across these tracks, angry and grating, soft and tuneful, powerful and aggressive, and to bizarrely invoke memories of LINKIN PARK’s Chester Bennington on occasion is no bad thing either.

What do we have here then? There’s burbling and busy ‘Split’, easing you into a shouty chorus that feels cathartic in the extreme when aimed at the nearest wall (try it), the irresistible pulse of ‘Glass’ with its simple, soaring chorus, or the stop/start lyrical snarl of the fabulous ‘Like Swine’. ‘The Scales’ sounds severely pissed-off with everything, while ‘Intertwined’ begins to drag into something samey before giving you the finger and delivering a massive chorus and some plinky synths. Because it can. And just to prove it can be done more than once, ‘Disavow’ goes nuts trying to outdo IAMX and almost succeeds. Leaving ‘Half Of One’ to wave goodbye, a slower-paced pavement-pounder, one of those arms-aloft festival feasts showing clearly why they’ve been billed alongside perennial sun-going-down stalwarts VNV NATION in the past. It’s an assured and satisfyingly non-hysterical end to a very grown-up set of songs.

So, holidays can be good. Just don’t do all the drugs, kids, and don’t eat all the chips. Come back like this - fresh-faced, enthusiastic, confident, and much improved. Far better than moaning and trying to get your money back.


01. Split
02. When Here Is Somewhere
03. Glass
04. Alter Ego
05. The Scales
06. Stranger
07. Like Swine
08. Ignite
09. Intertwined
10. Disavow
11. Half Of One


Ted Phelps

Website /

Cover Picture

imperativereaction mirror


Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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