Houston Music

The Mirrors

After exploding out of League City with their astonishing debut a couple of years ago, this overlooked band releases their second CD posthumously. The chief songwriter and guitarist, Greg Ashley, has moved to California, though he is back in town this week (see the minibill in Music Listings, page 100).

Following the same path they trod their first time out, they sound as if they were a missing link between 1960s psych, garage and folk. The album is chock-full of acid-drenched tones that employ a broad palette of colorful sounds. Listen to the warm cacophony of xylophone and tambourine alongside the strummed acoustic guitar on the disc-defining cut "Patient Flowers" and you feel like you're standing in the morning sun with your whole life ahead of you. Elsewhere, they're right in the pocket on the peppy garage rocker "I Don't Wanna Wanna," and then the drugs really kick in on the wigged-out "Make 'Em Bleed," which outshines half the cuts on the Nuggets boxed set. Although their faster-paced '60s-style rockers are as good as the ones that define the genre, it's on the folkier cuts that their true beauty comes through, especially the Donovan-like "One Million Strange Painted Days," with its barrelhouse piano riffs. "The Suburban Strate Coat" is a 13th Floor Elevators nightmare, intensely spooky in its ability to call to mind the song's progenitors yet still sounding fresh.

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Timothy J. O'Brien