Mysterious duo Drab Majesty are an intriguing entity. In the normal world, Andrew Clinco and Alex Nicolaou are no different to anyone else, lost in the anonymity of the featureless masses. But as an act, donning their androgynous stage personas of Deb Demure and Mona D, they become something much more.
Clinco, or Demure if you prefer, is the driving force of Drab Majesty and has been since debut album Careless arrived in 2015, and third album Modern Mirror was put together as he relocated from LA to Athens for a creative period in late 2017. The result is Modern Mirror, a modern take on the Greek mythological tale about Narcissus, who became obsessed with his own reflection, as the story is brought up to date, being particularly built around the social media and internet driven current state of affairs as people feel compelled to play out their lives via Facebook, Tinder and all the other usual suspects.
All of this is lost to the casual listener, however, as the synth heavy beauty of Drab Majesty’s music bathes in its own glory, lyrics often swamped by their sonically pleasurable surroundings as well as customary distortion. With synths sounding like they’ve been lifted directly out of the early to mid 1980s, there’s plenty to appeal to those of that era.
Lead single Ellipsis is also the album’s top track, a synthpop gem where trademark echoey vocals meld with blissful electronica for a catchy cut that lifts off after three minutes when instrumentation soars. Although comparisons have been made in the past to The Cure, Bauhaus and Killing Joke, perhaps the closest similarities are actually with The Mission, particularly through The Other Side, an impressive jangly number with an earworm chorus.
Noise Of The Void is another that reflects the Goth side portrayed by the band, as is opener Dialogue that is, in reality, a little indifferent as it feels – literally – like a simple curtain raiser full of glossy splendour and colour. The poppier Dolls In The Dark opens the second half of the eight track collection and is perhaps the best of the latter tracks, although Long Division, a song about long distance relationships that features No Joy’s Jasamine White-Gluz, and glitzy eight minute closer Out Of Sequence do their best to keep up.
Modern Mirror has its highlights, albeit the best ones arriving early. It’s an album more sugar coated than a very sugar-coated sugary sweet sweetie, and ultimately it is the gorgeous synth sound with a Gothic edge that creates the lasting impression. For Drab Majesty to take the next step, with an album that resonates with a larger audience, you feel that more depth is required along with more of the melodic excellence provided a handful of times here. If that happens it could even rival some of the best albums your dusty collection from the 80s boasts, such is the potential here.