Suffolk-born Steven Kenneth Barker, better known as Mirror Signal, is the proud owner of a very impressive barnet. Oh, and he also happens to have the best voice you’ve never heard. Barker positions himself as a more R’n’B-infused version of Jamie Woon or the UK’s answer to Francois and the Lights with his brand of neo soul. Being effortlessly chilled, with interesting musical inflections and a subtle knack for the odd touch of wry humour in his lyrics, Mirror Signals’ earlier works 20th Century Fix and Broken Soldier were songs for the twilight hours that weren’t at all soporific.
It’s a feel that Barker has brought into his latest single, All Along, taken from his recently released EP Herculean Task. The opening analogue bleeps soon fade into Barker’s silky smooth vocals, which take centre-stage on the relatively minimal track. There’s a bit of guitar, a bit of harmonica, some occasional hi-hats and a smattering of drum beats, yet the track feels light without being musically shallow. Barker isn’t afraid to put himself at the forefront and strip back the melodies, which in itself should be commended in an age where auto-tune and maximalism reigns supreme. Despite his moniker, Mirror Signal isn’t reflecting any particular trend of the minute and that’s altogether refreshing.
Words by Eugenie Johnson
Generator North East, The Manse, Kingsland Church Studios, Priory Green, Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE6 2DW
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