Slimming Mirrors, Flattering Lights

The Awkward Stage: Slimming Mirrors, Flattering Lights (Mint Records)

No, I did not pick this album because of the title—though who would say no to slimming mirrors and flattering lights?—but because of the pretty indie pop turned out by The Awkward Stage (a.k.a. Vancouver multi-instrumentalist Shane Nelken and his band of merry men, which includes Tygh Runyan (The Beans) on lead guitar and Chris Mitchell (of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra) on trumpet).

Nelken is the clever gent behind 2006’s Heaven is For Easy Girls (yes, Shane, I concur) and his sophomore turn is more personal, with  infectious numbers à la “Anime Eyes” and “Mini Skirt of X-mas Lights” plus acoustic heart-tuggers  (“Dandelion”) and ironic semi-50s orchestral turns (“True Love on Three with Feeling”) layered in for good measure.  It’s Sufjan Stevens meets Arcade Fire with a splash of The Zombies. Someone take this boy from über-indie land and bring him home.

Photography by Mark Maryanovich/

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