Picture the scene; you’re browsing through upcoming releases and you notice an EP called ‘In Windows, Through Mirrors’. It comes recommended for fans of Spiritbox and La Dispute, and the band’s name is GILT. This strikes you as strange, as there’s a Florida emo band with that name and they released a well-regarded debut album ‘Ignore What’s Missing’ last year, and that definitely didn’t sound like either of those bands. So, you think, either it’s a new band using the same name or it’s the same band with a totally different sound.
Curious, you investigate further, discovering these upstarts are a three-piece and they are being referred to as ‘newcomers’. Burning with intrigue you give the EP a listen. The music sounds strangely familiar – it’s bold and multi-layered, the singer has huge powerful voice and it doesn’t feel emo. Looking at the track listing, you notice something and finally, the pieces start to slot into place. This is GILT the Florida band, but they have shuffled their line-up and changed they style. With a new look, a new sound and new artwork, this is GILT version 2.0!
‘In Windows, Through Mirrors,’ is an EP made up of two rerecorded versions of their old songs and solitary new one. In many ways, it feels like they’re trying on old clothes to see what still fits and because GILT were something of a collective, the results are a bit of a jumble sale.
The defining character of GILT was that each song had a different flavour, and quite often a different singer. The biggest change with this new incarnation is that the drummer Ash Stixx has taken over vocal duties, shifting the overall sound into a very different place. She has a big, bold singing voice which also has an almost fragile quality, bringing to mind bands like Conquer-Divide, Crazy 88 and Flee the Seen, and it’s in full force on the first track, wasting no time in grabbing your attention.
Fans will recognise ‘In Windows (Ignore What’s Missing)’ as a highlight from the band’s debut album, but even newcomers will be snared by the chorus’ powerful hook, one that really shows off Stixx’s voice. She does a great job of transforming an old emo song into a full-blown rocker and it is a captivating listen. The original’s intimacy is lost in the exchange, however, and as a result, so is some of its magic.
As the newest song, ‘Long Time Coming’ has the most riding on it. It’s the only song written by this incarnation of the band and, interestingly, it’s also the most emo-sounding of the three. With its guitar arpeggios and swelling, back-seated vocal, ironically it feels more like the band’s previous sound. It builds slowly, creating atmosphere until way beyond its mid-point when the song finally explodes to life as a soaring vocal takes centre stage. As the only example of Stixx writing a melody it only hints at what the band might do next but bodes well for the future.
The final track ‘Through Mirrors (I Don’t Want You As A Mirror)’ is a spoken-word / yelled statement, riffing heavily on the idea of identity and self-definition. It’s here you’ll find GILT sounding more like La Dispute, showing that Stixx is more than capable of giving Jordan Dreyer a run for his money. Though the underscoring music is uncomfortable and slightly eerie, it provides a powerful canvas for Stixx to spit over, especially as the chorus section is bolstered by layered vocals. Its style is very much at odds with the two preceding tracks, however, even factoring in the more constructed sound favoured on this EP.
As a snapshot of the band’s evolving sound, ‘In Mirrors, Through Windows’ is a fascinating piece. The new line-up of GILT might be feeling their way through the dark but with this EP they have presented a solid foundation from which to work. By revisiting their old songs they invite comparison to their previous releases and though these three stand on their own merits, even the uniform production struggles to hold them together as a whole. As a springboard to their next release this is an interesting and thought-provoking collection that bodes well for the future. It’s just a shame the music doesn’t bite as hard as the vocals.