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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Album Review: Through the Glass by Kaz Mirblouk

I got my first impression of Kaz Mirblouk’s music in a cramped, upstairs makeshift bedroom in San Francisco. I was there for a house show, but it felt more like a labyrinth with its lack of light, closed-in walls and winding staircase. The room was the finish line, the prize in the game, but it felt more like a dead end. As one would in a labyrinth, I felt unsettled, that is, until the music started and everything started to make sense.

It’s not that the place got any cozier or that my spontaneous case of claustrophobia went away. Something about Mirblouk’s music just complimented the scene so well, and in the best way possible. Hearing Mirblouk’s music in that sort of space just felt right. I stopped caring about my surroundings. Everything was how it was supposed to be: simple and personal.

Recently, Mirblouk put out his first official studio release, a five-song EP titled Through the Glass. The album features Mirblouk, a fellow Aggie, on vocals, guitar and bass, along with Joey Kaufman on drums. Similar to hearing Mirblouk live, Through the Glass is an escape to a new state of mind—one riled up with energy, unabashed honesty and solid rock ‘n’ roll.

The opening track, “Running Places,” starts the album off with rage-ridden, blood-boiling energy. The brooding guitar riffs tactfully personify what the lyrics demand, which is the need to be understood, the need to find a sense of self: “While you’re standing, I’m sinking. / You don’t know what I’m thinking. / You got me running places, / running places I can’t hide.”

“Anything” turns the album’s attitude around with a more inviting sound. Its shrill and electrifying guitar riffs give it a feel-good vibe. However, the lyrics are anything but positive: “There’s nothing holding you back, / but now I can’t stand / the sight of you.”

With the next track titled “Lauren,” I honestly expected the album to break from its starting pace. I pictured “Lauren” to be a shoegaze-y ballad—a sweet and sensitive ode to some mysterious being, unknown to us all. Instead, “Lauren” kicks off at high voltage, eventually sojourning in a rad, dreamy breakdown that totally took me by surprise. Though it screams smitten, “Lauren” is not your average love song.

The next two tracks demonstrate Mirblouk and Kaufman’s solid grip on their craft. The second half of “Dancing with the Dead” enters this crazy, climactic guitar part that spirals the song to a punctual end. “Titles // If I Might” then starts off mellow, with both the guitar and drums feeding off each other perfectly, building up to the main part of the song.

The EP comes to an end with the title track. Hazy yet intense, “Through the Glass” pulls you into a different state of mind, easily allowing yourself to get lost in the music. Saving the title track for last was a bittersweet move. For one thing, it puts the cherry on top of what the EP was working toward – that cathartic effect. At the song’s close, I found myself still pining for that lost-in-the-music feel.

Overall, Through the Glass is what it feels like to put a leather jacket on for the first time in forever. It’s an electric shock of confidence. It’s that extra shot of espresso.

Mirblouk’s sound is garage rock in the truest sense. Mirblouk treats his trade like an engine, letting it drive himself and his listeners to a completely different world with sheer acceleration. Seeing him and Kaufman in action is an even bigger treat, for both show no fear of getting their hands dirty and covered with grease to get the rawest results out of their sound.

If you’re looking for something new or something to get your blood pumping, then Through the Glass could be the fix you need. Visit https://www.facebook.com/kaztheband to check out Kaz Mirblouk’s music.

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