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Aerosmith - Done With Mirrors review


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Band: Aerosmith
Album: Done With Mirrors
Release date: April 1985

01. Let The Music Do The Talking
02. My Fist Your Face
03. Shame On You
04. The Reason A Dog
05. Shela
06. Gypsy Boots
07. She's On Fire
08. The Hop
09. Darkness

Back in the saddle? The train maybe a rollin' but they're riding third class.

The classic line up reunited after several years apart, trying to reignite their careers and find that creative spark while attempting to sober up; Aerosmith were back but their heads were not fully there at this point. Done With Mirrors is a work in progress that got sent out the door way too early, whether the band could have improved on the record in their state is something we may never know; what we do know is that this record suffers as a result.

Even though this is the first record since Draw The Line to feature the band working as one unit rather than separate moving parts, Done With Mirrors feels much more closely related to its predecessor Rock In A Hard Place sonically. Though the album doesn't fall to the depths that its predecessor does, it does share its lack of fire and passion; though played with a bit more conviction, you can hear the band are going through the motions for the most part. The songs themselves rarely raise themselves beyond passable and feel like blueprints rather than complete tracks.

The album can be best split into three parts: the good songs where the fire was rekindled and as a result are the high points of the album; the songs that feature good ideas but don't work well in execution; and finally, the songs that lack a strong idea or have no typical Aerosmith magic put into it.

Starting with the latter, tracks like "A Reason A Dog" have little purpose or soul; it seems like it should be a part of something but is stretched out to be the whole thing instead. If it turned out to be a warm up song that got thrown on the album to fill time I wouldn't be surprised. "Shame On You" is a passable but simple blues rock song; it sticks so tightly to formula that you wonder if the band doubted their own abilities and dared not stray by adding in their own touch.

"My Fist Your Face" and "Gypsy Boots" are built on solid premises, but the band are unable to insert themselves into the tracks fully to breathe life into them; while they aren't totally bereft of character, they are lacking that something to really elevate them to the next level. "She's On Fire" and "The Hop" are in a similar vein but flip the problem, in that the songs sound like they have more verve in them but have weaker foundations; the band's newfound spring in their step is infectious, but the songs have little more to them than that to endear themselves to you.

"Shela" sees the band remember what they were best at, cranking up the guitars and just letting Perry and Whitford go while the rest of the band hold down the fort; the song takes a while to get going, but when it does, you hear the Aerosmith of old that had been missing all those years. "Darkness" is the most adventurous song on the record and it's that willingness to experiment that separates the song from the rest of the album. The switching up in pace and the inclusion of the piano gives this song an extra dimension on an album that sounds very flat. "Let The Music Do The Talking" is probably the strongest song on the record and it comes as little surprise, given the song was written by Perry years prior and had already been recorded once by his solo act; the band are in effect putting their skin on a skeleton they know is strong. The song is a strong rocker and feels as if the band is picking up where they left off back in their 70's heyday.

Add to this mixed bag of songs is the production of Templeman; although he had plenty of credentials (being the man behind much of early Van Halen albums) that should have made him an ideal candidate for the job, for one reason or another he doesn't fit well and the album suffers as a result. While the instruments are audible and clear, he seems to have smoothed out the edges to the extent there are no highs or lows to catch your ear or to allow you to really grab onto a song; rather you can't actively listen to the album, but sit back and hear it passively play out. Although this sounds like a minor issue, it does hinder the songs quite a bit; where before you could repeat a song to hear any hidden or overlooked intricacies, here, it comes to be a chore rather than an enjoyable experience.

This is an album for bigger Aerosmith fans really, I can't see much that casual fans would enjoy over the band's better known work either before or after this album. Done With Mirrors saw the band put the train back on track and the wheels begin to slowly move, but rather than take the driver's seat and go full steam ahead, the band ride in the back coach and wait for the next station to come by before taking their own careers by the scruff of their necks.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 6

Written on 14.09.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 3 users
01.08.2022 - 15:07
Rating: 3

For an album with the return of Joe Perry there is little life and soul in this record, and it often comes off as just the band needs to put out a record with little though on making the songs as exciting or impressive as some of their earlier work even some work they would do afterwards, but i guess it does get better after this.
Track Review

Let The Music Do The Talking 6/10
My Fist Your Face 4.5/10
Shame On You 5/10
The Reason A Dog 4/10
Shela 4.5/10
Gypsy Boots 4.5/10
She's On Fire 4.5/10
The Hop 4.5/10
Darkness 5/10

Average: 4.7/10

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