I can't say that I have been unduly impressed with The Moth and The Mirror in the past. Admittedly, this was based on seeing them perform live for, while Stacey Sievwright had an undeniably appealing voice, the songs just weren't there and, at the end of the day, it is all about the songs (and occasionally the haircuts). However, "Honestly, This World" represents something of a turning point both for the band and, indeed, for my opinion of them.
Instead of the more ideas then direction approach so beloved of the more intelligent Glasgow bands, The Moth and The Mirror seem here to assembled their songs into something that clarifies their intention. And their intention? From the evidence it would appear that their intention as to produce an album of maturity. An album that draws from the current Scottish sound but exceeds the limitations that such an approach would normally bring.
Listen, for example, to the conventionality of "Fire". That is a quintessentially modern day Scottish band playing their 'A' game. Then, as if to prove that they are not limited by that which would otherwise smother them, The Moth and The Mirror then execute the most elegant of stylistic right turns and light up the night sky with the ethereal beauty of "Boxes". I know I've said nice things about Stacey Sievwright's voice in the past but that did not prepare me for the mixture of innocence and ill-tempered sultriness that she manages to bring to this song.
As you would expect of a title track, "Honestly, This World" goes for the big production approach and becomes near theatrical in the process. In other words, this one has been judged just about right. Equally, the Amanda Palmer meets Tom Waits style of "Fire" would transfer wonderfully to the stage. You would think that would be enough for any band but not this one as the perfect song about isolation in bedsit land follows ("Closing Doors") before the kind of understated, twisted melancholy torment that should be used to end an album crushes your skull. Yes, "Oceans & Waves" sounds massive and Ms Sievwright very nearly loses the battle for sonic dominance to the damn guitar solo. "Goodbye", she sings. I very nearly reach out for her hand.
I just didn’t expect "Honestly, This World" to be such a good album. In fact, I shall pay it the ultimate compliment and say for all to read that it deserves to be released on vinyl. I should also add that, after hearing it, I didn't actually want to review this album. Instead, I wanted to hear it again. And again.
Bluesbunny Album of the Month - October 2011