They’ll be our Mirrors, reflecting what Cleveland r’n’r truly achieved in those oft abused 1970s. Retrieved from the same Velvets salt mine that gave us the Dead Boys and Pere Ubu in that time, recent CD releases of fugitive recordings from the previously barely heard Rocket From the Tombs, Mirrors, Styrenes, and Electric Eels have revealed the reach of that always shifting collective of hiptrons who scooped up spilled guitars from Cleveland’s freeways as the ’70s rear-ended the stalled ’60s. All bands noted above were linked by personnel overlaps, sometimes via the nexus of legendary flameout Peter Laughner, though (don’t say “the”) Mirrors were always primarily Jamie Klimek’s brainchild. He seems to have regarded Lou Reed less as the dark-angel auteur celebrated elsewhere on that scene than as a regular-guy role model who’d made rather basic vocal and guitar skills into rock ‘n’ roll of the spheres. A few early Klimek songs did echo the Velvets, but then Mirrors crack’d (especially as bassist-keyboardist Paul Marotta came aboard) into glowing shards of what would later be called “powerpop” (albeit fat-tied here): chop-melodic guitars and waveringly true vocals.
The earlier Mirrors compilation Hands in My Pockets (Overground import, 2001) includes cuts from various lineups and songwriters, but Another Nail in the Remodeled Coffin focuses on the nucleus of Klimek, Marotta, and drummer Paul Laurence, with all the chiming-neuroses compositions strictly Klimekian, marking out a firm stylistic identity, even with numerous extra cuts not on the 1989 version of the album. So luminous that only Cleveland knew at the time, these Mirrors shattered in 1975, mutating into the artier Styrenes. But this fetish disc of the aboriginal Mirrors is worth the price of remission for Klimek’s liner notes alone: “Lyrics not available on request. Listen harder or buy the songbook.”