At just 9 songs, Break Mirrors is certainly a short record, but its also absurdly consistent and detailed. From the airy background of quietly-plucked guitars in slow opener "Cheers" to the experimental echoed-bass drum and wall-of-guitars soundscape in "Under The Underground," Mills never simply settles for telling a straight lyrics-and-guitar story. The talented session player and Youtube-praised shredder has too much talent at his disposal to fit into the traditional singer/songwriter mold, with many of the songs on Break Mirrors instead veering into more exploratory territory, complicating themselves into fully-articulated and dynamic compositions. No song hits that mark more than "Winter Song," from its contemplative first minute-and-a-half to the drum-kicking-in chorus and eventual chill-eliciting burst of overlapping male/female harmony. Mills' lyrics and voice—a compliment of wordy insights and injustices with a gravelly, achey tone—find a perfect world to exist in here amongst layers of fluttering and singing guitars and beautifully-produced drumming. I'll say that again, the drumming on this record— reminiscent of the Beatles and Dr. Dog with its use of delay and echo—is expertly performed and remarkably satisfying. I wouldn't be surprised if Break Mirrors is my favorite record of 2010. It's just that good.
Stream: Blake Mills - "Winter Song" (from Break Mirrors)
Stream: Blake Mills - "Hey Lover" (from Break Mirrors)
Blake Mills - "Hey Lover" (Daytrotter session)
Blake Mills - "The Woman Knows (Demo)" (from Live From Shanghai EP)