Vinyl Floor - 'Funhouse Mirror' LP
Review by Patrick Joseph
Vinyl Floor have put together a cohesive and gripping album in “Funhouse Mirror.” The band is instantly charming, presenting a sound that is edgy yet polished, independent yet refined. The songwriting, vocal harmonies, and ensemble playing on this record display a very natural artistic voice that is desperately needed in the modern age. This is not simply a collection of songs, but a long-form piece of art. This is an album in the classic sense, and listening to the tracks start to finish offers a very rewarding experience. The musical journey is unpredictable yet very clearly defined.
The album opener “Anything You Want” serves as a great overture, providing an explosive sound that offers foreshadowing of the music to come. The addictive energy is relentless and makes you want to keep listening. Without question Vinyl Floor is a band that is highly adept at writing music. Orchestral elements combine with influences from the golden era rock era to create something unique and fresh. The Beatles, Oasis, and Beethoven are represented but not necessarily emulated. Vinyl Floor presents its own distinct voice. The lead vocal performances are phenomenal, and the overall production and sound of the band is top notch. All of the tracks on the album are great, but some of my favorites are…
Anything you Want
This song is a great way to open the album. I love the driving rhythm and the wall of sound. Synth brass adds a huge layer to the sound. The verses offer a coolly jarring rhythmic placement of a chord change that acts as a splash of water in the face. The vocal harmonies are killer and the final chords in the chorus are absolute show stoppers.
“Anything you want, Anything you’d like to share, Anything you want I know, I know”
Clock with No Hands
This song is the first single off the album, and its easy to see why. The rich layering of melody and chords demonstrates very sophisticated writing and a very fun sound. I love the time changes from 3/4 to 6/8, and the guitar features. This band has a real knack for catchy vocal hooks that are unpredictable. This song is expressive and creative while remaining very accessible. Also check out the music video:
“The clock with no hands is you…I want to listen carefully to a timeless melody…Everything is better when its shared with you, nobody I know can kill me like you do”
Between Lines Undone
This song shows the emotional depth of the band and keeps up the theme of phenomenal writing. Sustained melody notes during choruses are set up perfectly by the active verses. Completely unexpected and heart-wrenching harmonies at the end of the chorus are a huge payoff. This music sits in a great zone of having a familiar and comfortable sound yet remaining completely unpredictable. It reminds me of the great “songwriter” rock bands at their best (Oasis, The Jayhawks, Weezer, etc.)
"The crown of thorns was never yours to keep it was just a the sign of a deep sleep…Between ines undone”
This song features an Irresistibly emotional chord progression and a beautiful melody. The lead vocal on this track is stellar. The lyrics are very self aware and the song comes off as some kind of mission statement. This song also features expert guitar work.
“We're coming to town, we’re a mighty band of illusionists you see…we sing you songs of laden poetry…it's kind of our destiny”
Death of a Poet
This song is the most representative of the classical composition influence that appears in the band's output. It opens with a piano homage to Moonlight Sonata and adds in creeping melodies and haunting mandolin textures. Each musical section is totally fresh and the transitions are thoughtful and seamless. There is a very Beatles-esque development before the track develops into a huge guitar solo over a massive chorus. The track comes full circle with a return to the melancholic piano pattern.
“Fill the grieving hole…Danger, suicude at the height of fame, and the lights went out…Come and take me higher”
The album concludes with a poignant and uplifting song. The energy drops way down in the first verse, and builds into the chorus. The emotional melodies of the 2nd verse are elevated by a full band generating energy. The chorus is very relaxing yet powerful, with rhythmic hits to punctuate the anthemic sound. Strings add an emotional layer while a false ending sets up a crescendo from piano to full band. The band builds and jams over a satisfying harmonic progression, giving listeners a sense of resolution, like the journey is complete.
“Reach in, reaching out tomorrow someone stole the light…But you already spent days amongst the waters”
About Vinyl Floor
Vinyl Floor is a 3-piece alternative rock band which hails from Copenhagen, Denmark. Vinyl Floor consists of two brothers Thomas Charlie Pedersen & Daniel Pedersen. Vinyl Floor has played more than 150 shows and toured in Japan, Germany and the UK. ‘Funhouse Mirror’ is the band’s fifth full length album release.
The band handled most instruments themselves but invited three additional musicians to play on several tracks-adding different flavors and colors to the songs. The Swedish multi-instrumentalist Bebe Risenfors contributed a selection of horns, percussion and organ to most of the album. Bebe Risenfors has previously played with Tom Waits and his work is featured on the Tom Waits albums ‘Alice’, ‘Blood Money’ and ‘Orphans’. Bebe Risenfors has also worked with Elvis Costello. Bob Dylan’s former bandleader and bass player, the New York native Rob Stoner, is featured here playing bass on 3 songs. Rob Stoner has played with diverse acts such as Joni Mitchell, Chuck Berry, Don McLean, Link Wray, Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen and many more. Finally, the Danish violin player Christian Ellegaard, who is a member of the national Danish symphony orchestra, recorded strings for 2 songs.
MEMBERS: Thomas Charlie Pedersen (vocal, guitar, piano) Rasmus Bruun (guitar, piano, organ) Daniel Pedersen (drums, vocals, piano)