Vinyl Floor’s Funhouse Mirror Triumphs Over its Melancholy

Posted: November 11, 2022 by Kat Meow in Denmark, Indie, Rock, Vinyl Floor

Funhouse Mirror is the fifth offering from Danish duo Vinyl Floor.  Brothers Daniel and Thomas Charlie Pederson share vocals and songwriting duties and play most of the instrumental parts themselves.  Supported by a handful of invited musicians, the album was recorded live in Malmö, Sweden and finished in their native Denmark.  Funhouse Mirror’s ten tracks are a plate of biscuits with buttery layers of beautiful sound and lyric.  This is really approachable and satisfying melodic indie pop with gently psychedelic qualities and stark lyrical imagery.  The Pederson’s vocals have a richness, like a tint to them that I feel like I keep hearing in other artists of Scandinavian descent (Daði Freyr and Erlend Øye come to mind). They are clear, pretty, and warm.

Funhouse Mirror is a collection of minor key melodies stuffed with soaring whooshy moments thanks to its liberal use of horns, keys, and breezy vocals.  From the start, opener track “Anything You Want” is a stomper that introduces the album’s retro “grandchild of Sargeant Pepper” feel.  Following, “Clock With No Hands” and “Between Lines Undone” really center those amazing Pederson vocals.  They’re chock full of Jellyfish-like woowoos, and I love me some woowoos.  Woowoos power the engines that keep Vinyl Floor’s melancholic songs in flight.  Like much music coming out right now, the majority of songs were written in the dark years.  Funhaus Mirror is an attempt to make that inescapable mid-lockdown “Groundhog Day” feeling into something that transcends, and somehow it manages to capture both the good and the bad without being too reminiscent of all those crappy feelings that you’d rather forget, because now they feel like funnel cake during a day at the carnival.

Around mid album we start getting heady and folky, with tracks like “Dear Apollon” and “Ever the Optimist” playing with idioms and allegories.  “Dear Apollon” prays for divine inspiration through Billy Joel-esque piano soft rock, continuing that sense of listlessness: “I long for pacific winds to shake me through, today not tomorrow.”  “Ever the Optimist,” turns this common phrasing of words into a character who seems to descend into himself.  As “Ever” rolls into a delicious jamband groove, I realize these attempts to stay skyward and jaunty are more and more desperate.  

By the last third of the album, the tracks become one long narrative diving into one’s darkness and back.  The album hits its emotional nadir during “Death of a Poet,” where it changes and molts before descending into proggy grunge in “Stare, Scare.”  This one is heavy enough for some Heavy Metal-esque mental animations thanks to its electric guitars and references to fear.  For all of its tonal darkness, this one is the most optimistic as it stares mortality in the face, and suddenly drum beats are clubs bashing the brains of zombies or Nazgûl or stalfos – pick your fantasy poison.  Its finale, “Days,” is like a reward for the vigilance of battling the evils.  If the album soars through the sky, “Days” is a dusky orange horizon and a reason to set down and rest your head.  

All in all, Funhouse Mirror is beautifully done.  It carries its triumph throughout its ten tracks and still manages to end on the strongest emotions. It’s a great offering for anyone who is looking to sit in their sads and watch the clouds.

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