Music Review—PUFF

Artist: Vanity Mirror
Album: PUFF

Toronto’s Vanity Mirror has released their debut LP, PUFF.  The album is available for streaming anywhere you get your music.

Vanity Mirror consists of Brent Randall (Gentle Brent) and Johnny Toorney (The Turns).  The duo is best known for their previous achievements with Los Angeles based, baroque-pop group, The Electric Looking Glass.  According to the band, PUFF is a nostalgic collection of songs pieced together in makeshift spaces while traveling between LA, Montreal, Detroit and Toronto.  Taping old pianos in public libraries and abandoned houses and tracking vocals in vintage shop basements, Randall sent the tracks to Toomey who recorded drums and percussion in his Los Angeles basement using a handheld field recorder.

PUFF consists of ten tracks: (I First Saw You There) Tinpot Lane; Tuesday’s News; Girl Feeding A Swan; Dandelion Wish; How I Learned Something Worth Knowing; A Fool With An Applecart; Somehow You Know; Look At The Clouds; Talkin Walkie-Talkie Rice Crispies Blues; and Happily Ever After.  The songs “(I First Saw You There) Tinpot Lane”, “Tuesday’s News”, “Dandelion Wish”, and “Somehow You Know” have music videos available on the band’s YouTube.

Reflecting on the track “Somehow You Know”, Randall says, “Somehow You Know is somewhat of a lullaby.  It wasn’t an immediate choice for a single but one of our favorites and a track that a lot of close friends had highlighted as one of their favorites.  I think it has an immediacy in its simplicity.  I think this video captures that and we’re so excited to share it.”

Of the track, “Dandelion Wish”, Randal describes it as “a sophisticated bedroom pop ditty for wayward situationships.  It’s the second single from Vanity Mirror’s debut album PUFF; a vulnerable collection of homespun pop experiments.  This lo-fi flower-ballad blends soft nylon strumming with sparkling electric jangle; playful mellotron flourishes with an urgent quirksome rhythm section.  Catch a ray of sun in your window and whistle along.”

Vanity Mirror is heavily 60s-inspired—reminding me of classic 60’s bands like The Beatles; Simon and Garfunkel; and Peter, Paul, and Mary.  PUFF is a dreamy, groovy, calming album, full of feel-good tunes and sweet love songs.  My favourite song on the album is “Dandelion Wish”.  It is a hilariously contradicting song about the struggle to be vulnerable with someone.  Randal sings, “And if you leave me/Nobody else would ever do/Darling believe me/I’ll spend my life running from you/I want no other/Do what I can to push you to/The arms of another/’Cause I don’t know what else to do.”

Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of the music videos.  They were inspired by Andy Warhol Factory film tests and 60’s TV specials, and it is clear that the band put a lot of work (and costume changes!) into the videos.  However, I found that I couldn’t tell if the band was being ironical or if they were actually trying to be “artsy”.  Either way, the music videos reminded me of the “Please don’t turn this into a Wes Anderson film” TikTok trend.

Overall, I really enjoyed PUFF.  And you can check out Vanity Mirror on Tik Tok, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.