The New Up’s new album “Tiny Mirrors” exhibits the sound layering of the Alan Parsons Project, the poppy synths of The Cars and the exploration of Pink Floyd or Radiohead.
Intrigued? The self-described electro garage rock quintet fronted by Noah Reid and E.S. Pitcher is about to set off on a pair of coastal tours, 11 shows on the West Coast followed by an extensive run from Atlanta to New Hampshire. On on April 21, it stoped at The Saint in midtown Reno.
“Tiny Mirrors” has an ominous, spooky introduction. With a bass drum and flute backdrop, a narrator says, “In our new world there will be no emotions other than fear, rage, triumph and self-effacement … we will abolish the orgasm. There’s no loyalty except loyalty to the party. But always there will be the intoxication of power. At every moment there will be a thrill of victory and a sensation of trampling on the enemy. If you want to imagine the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face. The moral to be drawn from this dangerous, nightmarish situation is a simple one: Don’t let it happen. It depends on you.”
Coincidentally, the album was released a few days after the Presidential Inauguration.
“We thought we were talking about the rest of the world,” Reid said. “As soon as Trump got elected (we realized) we were talking about ourselves. It was like a total revelation for us. What it makes you realize is that this shit that has been going on for a long time and Trump is a continuation of a trend that has been happening for a while.
“As much as we’d like to feel that everything’s free and that everything’s progressed and we’ve gotten out of these dark times. But if you look around the world, we are repeating the same populist, nationalist thing that happened before World War II.”
However, the music is light and airy, creating an ambiance of floating above the Earth or experiencing it in a daydream. This is one of those records that more powerful with each listen.
“I want them to resonate first with the music and then, when they give it a deeper listen, resonate with the message,” Pitcher said. “We’re just really conjuring up ways how we can push activism through our music.”
The message is reflective, mirroring what was happening when the band members recorded the album during marathon sessions in Marin County. During breaks, the musicians talked about social issues.
“We were just writing about what we were experiencing and what we were seeing every day,” Reid said. “Then it ended up being kind of political. I think you can get really cheesy really quick with political stuff but I think we managed to not be cheesy because it was coming a real place.”
The moral is a simple one: Don’t let it happen.