Shield Patterns – Mirror Breathing
'Touch me lightly, share / How you hate me and all the ways you care,' sings Claire Brentnall on Dusk, the opening track on the follow-up to Shield Patterns' 2014 debut Contour Lines.
Rest assured, this one's from the heart. The twitch and burr of Richard Knox's beats and the elegant shadowplay of Brentnall's melodies find connection and harmony on this wide-reaching and accomplished work. Recorded at their home studio, Mirror Breathing's DIY ethos belies its scale and ambition. Complex orchestrations (enhanced on three tracks by cellist Julia Kent) serve a rich and developing songcraft.
The pair switch effortlessly from lyrical, tender rhapsodies (Cerulean, Sleepdrunk) to an implacable brutalism (the bruising Balance and Scatter). A life-affirming and mind-altering journey, these songs burrow under the skin. Contour Lines was a dark wonder; Mirror Breathing is its equal and then some. A stirring confessional, a thrilling musical evolution, and an inch away from perfect. If that.
Read our interview with Shield Patterns here.