Lyon based melodic hardcore band Mirage have released their debut EP on September 29th. The five piece consisting of David Paoli (vocals), Adrien Gonzales (lead guitar), Stéphane Gout (rhythm guitar), Guillaume Vo (bass), and Antoine Tribouillard (drums), have complimented their singles of “Smooth Talkers” and “Minefield” with another three tracks.
The EP feels like a cementing of the band’s line-up, with it having been re-established after the creation of the singles, with David and Adrien at its core. Mirage refer to the EP’s release as a new story for the band, inviting greater things to come after establishing this strong base now.
Honouring their native French tongue, the EP is entitled Depuis Le Temps…. Google Translate butchers this phrase into “Since The Time”, which is a direct translation but doesn’t capture the intention. Mirage’s vocalist David shared with me that “Every time people talk about our band, they say that. It means that we started a long time ago and FINALLY released something.” David agreed that the closest translation in English would be “Finally…” or “About time!”, expressed in a positive way; much like “Here we are!”.
Mirage as a band name comes from David’s point of view in life at a time. He had felt that his dreams, goals, purpose and friends were just a mirage; something that could be seen in front of you, then disappear like they had never existed. However what the band’s name means also seems to grow along with them, such as observing a world of make-believe/façades around them and feeling alone because of it. The band’s music inspire them to fight negativity and keep moving on.
Opening the EP is “08”. The track inspires goosebumps as it echoes the “Here we are!” sentiment, using high paced beats and chords that say “Something is coming”. This instrumental track finds a steady pace, drawing the listener in, before slowing us down. With this sonic manipulation, we are at Mirage’s hands to immerse into the EP as it comes.
“Minefield” has been re-recorded for the EP, giving beautiful clarity of sound to this break-up song. This is an open letter to a lover, to look at what’s happening and how stuck the two of them are. There was an impression they’d be together forever, but the stagnancy, as though frozen in terror on a minefield, is sending him crazy. He would rather choose to move forward and for things to blow up than stay stuck.
“So lose yourself in what you think we’ve built
I see nothing but ruins on a minefield”
“Minefield” is sick breakdowns and rage intensity via vocals, with hectic drumbeats demanding for her to hear. Things have come to a head and a turning point, with blame being handed directly to her. With beautiful guitar interlude, the feeling is that what they had was so beautiful, but she is stuck there and not seeing the truth of things as they disintegrate. There’s impressively beautiful guitarwork as the track comes to a close, feeling like trying to work out something deeply tangled, yet breaking out, finally, firmly and heavily.
“Smooth Talkers” was the first that I’d heard of Mirage and it really explores a full spectrum of sound. The track is a wake-up call for people to take action on the issues that they feel passionately about. So Mirage begin gently, asking for those people to work hand-in-hand with them, together, to make a difference.
But when there’s this response of not being bothered, being simply hot air without follow through, or truly just too lazy, it aggravates a frustration, expressed in gritty breakdowns and more aggressive vocals than those that were cleanly sung.
“If you don’t act how can you expect to change ANYTHING?”
As the intensity increases, with growls and djent action, the accusation toward the useless and flailing is that they are just as bad as those that they hate (such as their leaders). Mirage take their fire and are right in the faces of those that are all talk. The guitars feel like they are weapons being waved toward another, ready to fight.
Despite the aggression, this passion comes from a place where hope is never lost, yet it’s known that a unity is essential for change. As the track continues, a swirling guitar focus and distortion feel like trying to culminate a plan together.
But nope, when no value is seen in the ‘smooth talkers’, despite all of the attempts at waking them up, they’re written off. With the end of the song feeling like a middle fingered salute to them.
“Daydreamer” has such an addictive quality in its sound to me. It truly takes on a quality of “Psst! Come over here and look under this layer and see what else is possible!”. In this fourth track of the EP, Mirage are fighting for their dreams, and want all of us to do so, not falling into the trap of thinking we have to fall into a societal mould, nor any one’s expectations of us.
“I dream awake about another way”
Their fight, against those that would rather we be oppressed and stay within defined lines, is expressed using growls and layered sound. The intensity builds until a point of palpable excitement in encouragement to run toward your dreams, even if you’re doing it alone. As David passionately expresses at the close of the track: “Stop wondering what your life should be, take the lead”. Take the lead of your own life and never give up on your dreams.
“Indigo” is the beautiful final track of Depuis Le Temps… with emotive clean vocals sharing honest questions about life and what is felt. David shared with me that “Indigo” talks about his difficulties to fit into the mould, and to accept life as a gift and not a randomly imposed existence.
The lyrics are observations of himself, as well as not understanding the challenges he faces every day, feeling exhausted by it.
“Just take a deep breath
There’s heaviness here, the djent sound and layers of sound capturing the inner fight and mental pressure. The story continues to unfold as the track progresses and we hear the moment where there is a shift from waiting for life to answer all of these questions, through to taking control again (‘It’s time to overcome / Time to over fucking come’).
It’s an encouragement to fight back this weight of non-belonging and overcome it, once and for all, each of us taking up space in this world as ourselves.
With the five tracks of Depuis Le Temps…, Mirage have created emotive soundscapes which capture their real experiences in navigating human life. Their songs hold a thread of a question or emotion and follow it toward a change or a resolution, inviting us along as they try to make sense of things. This presence of focus makes for songs that are engaging as they unfold, with the whole of the song expressing the state of things as it is.
Mirage’s capacity for beautiful moments of connection through to gutter-scraping heaviness and hatred make them a band to watch with curiosity. Their debut EP is a very strong beginning, and a solid base from which to continue bringing reality-inspired music to our ears. Mirage are sparking a revolution without frills; just genuinely good music.
Here is Depuis Le Temps… for your listening pleasure:
An inspirational collection of tracks that are engaging and genuine in their expression of emotion and richness of sound. Travels the full spectrum from delicate to destructive. Never a dull moment while these musical 'stories' are told.