The debut from Vanity Mirror brings together members of baroque psych outfit Electric Looking Glass for a natural progression out of the Nuggets box and into eddies of power pop, paisley pop and sunshine psych. Puff is permeated with a relaxed air — shades of Emmitt Rhodes, Rick Springfield, and early Apple Records outfits come to mind. Recorded in spaces as diverse as old public libraries, abandoned houses, and vintage shop basements, an aura of patchwork pop comes through in the bones of the album. Puff is somehow both lo-fi and widescreen — a panoramic picture sun-faded in Kodachrome hues.
The curlicues of whimsy that wind through tracks like “Dandelion Wish” and “A Fool With An Applecart” find the band touching ever so slightly on the Athens pop cornucopia that cobbled together the Elephant 6’s kaleidoscope. There’s a bit more gloss to Vanity Mirror’s pop wonderland than the Athens set offers, though, aligning them more with a reverence to The Raspberries and Rundgren set when those pianos get pounding and the arrangements get thick. The ramshackle punk bite that the Southern collective always held in tow never quite comes into play. They’ve got one eye pointed towards the rose colored past and another eyeing the softness of the California surf. The pair’s debut plays with pastiche, but makes it feel as fresh as as summer’s breeze.
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