Any discussion of winding roads and film will center around the iconic Hollywood staple Mulholland Drive. The winding, 55-mile-long road prominently exists in depictions of Los Angeles fantasies and realities. There’s a discordance to the road. It’s host to the houses of many famous stars but also dips into almost inaccessible dirt-mountain terrain at points, making one wonder how it even became inhabitable in the first place. It was the grim landmark of the Manson family murders in 1969. David Lynch’s iconic 2001 film baring the street’s name even tragically begins with a car crash along this winding stretch of pavement. It both exists and doesn’t.
It’s not the same Lynch film, but it’s understandable why the dark, sexy synth-rock band Pearly felt inspired by Lost Highway to create their own interpretation of experiences driving through winding roads into the deep night while on tour before recording Silver of the Mirror. Like how each unexpected turn leads the minds of the driver and passengers into an abyss of imagination, David Lynch films throw ideas and concepts at his viewers much the same. His movies are worlds that offer worlds unto themselves, guiding each watcher through an immersive visual meditative experience.
The score for Lost Highway was put together by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor. Both have had a noticeable impact on Pearly’s creation of Silver of the Mirror. The NIN influence that seeps through the most on Silver of the Mirror has to be The Downward Spiral. You hear it in songs such as “Julianne Moore,” where it’s impossible to dismiss the tempo switch as a nod to “March of the Pigs.” It’s also apparent on “Silver Behind the Mirror ” and “Back Luck Driving,” which channels the masculine feminess Reznor dips into quite often on the aforementioned album and is the only track that predominantly features Austin Beynak as the vocalist.
The genre splicing doesn’t stop there. The feisty vocals and manic drumming on “Rub Eye/Red Eye” throws a punk rock curveball about halfway through the record, energizing listeners before dropping them into a pool of shoegaze with “Blues Riff,” which has the intoxicating line, “All the way fallin’ when I fall for you.” “Let’s Play” borders post-rock and ambient — a gorgeous display of stretching space that can also be placed in the Loveless realm of shoegaze. “2B” is an acoustic indie jam that transported me back to Congratulations-era MGMT. Despite the goodie bag of influences that Pearly taps into, the deep obscurity of the synth and mysterious songwriting is the adhesive that keeps this project together in its nine tracks and 40-minute runtime.
The lyrics can waver between aggressively promiscuous (on “Julianne Moore” Josie Yeager sings, “I’m their girl I’m their girl/I’m their perfect girl/Look at her/I can not strap in strap on” over roaring industrial guitar tones) and beautifully haunting (“Deep Love,” “2B”) from one line to the next. Perhaps the most serene Silver of the Mirror moment of all is the flawless transition between the first and second tracks — “Deep Love” and “2B.” You absolutely need to digest this album front to back. Pearly tried to capture and portray a cinematic universe, and it achieved something so memorable in the process.
Pearly’s Silver of the Mirror is quite possibly the most cohesive yet stylistically diverse album you’ll come across this year. Even individual tracks create their own cinematic universe, much like how Mulholland Drive and other winding routes like it have the ability to do the same. Some of these tracks even contain their own cinematic universe within a universe, such as in “Deep Love” with the switch between dark, bouncy synths and a slowly roaring power guitar chord before breaking down into an ethereal acoustic plane that leads into that beautifully, unnoticeable transition. Like traveling down a winding road at night — one encrusted with evergreen trees, reflecting lines from the pavement and barriers, and typically a cautious grip of the steering wheel — the turns of this album come at the listener both slowly and unpredictably. Much like a Lynch film.
Pearly’s Josie Yeager wrote a beautiful and informative piece on the creation of Silver of the Mirror. It’s a very good read. Here is the link.