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Walking Into Mirrors

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Album Review

Built around material Warman first premiered live with his band Three Minutes, Walking Into Mirrors erupted around the Australian hit single "Screaming Jets," a masterful, electronics-driven slab of wartorn paranoia whose edginess was only amplified by the presence of Peter Gabriel on effectively keening backing vocals. Warman wrote the song within half an hour of watching Apocalypse Now, furthering that movie's claim on early-'80s rock immortality (the Lords of the New Church's "Russian Roulette" was similarly inspired). But to judge Walking Into Mirrors solely by that cut is to overlook a wealth of equally electrifying cuts, similarly recorded with much of Gabriel's own band and packed with many of the same dynamics that inhabited his own then-current album (Peter Gabriel 3). Hints of the John Foxx-era Ultravox (not to mention the inevitable Gary Numan, too) shine through some of the sparser numbers, an impression heightened by both Warman's own, occasionally robotic vocal intonations and the sense that the entire album is an idiot dancing on the edge of Armageddon; the early '80s, of course, saw civilization perched on one of its way-too-regular nuclear precipices, and Walking Into Mirrors echoes both the scientific realities and the science-fiction romances of that scenario. As is the fate of so much music that sets out to sound purposefully futuristic, there are moments that have dated somewhat. At its best, however — "Screaming Jets," "(SOS) Sending out Signals," "Searchlights," "Martian Summer" — Walking Into Mirrors remains a brittle pulse, foreboding and ferule and as invigorating today as it was on release. Unavailable for some two decades, Walking Into Mirrors was finally reissued in late 2002 — coincidentally at a time when its own political concerns were again taking center stage. The original ten-track album was bolstered by a half-dozen bonus tracks, plus the suitably atmospheric videos for "Screaming Jets" and the title track.


Born: London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Born in Bethnal Green, London, Johnny Warman made his stage debut as a child, when his local school choir was judged proficient enough to appear in two productions at London's prestigious Royal Opera House, alongside Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi. By the mid-'70s, however, he had gravitated to rock, forming the band Bearded Lady and releasing a 1975 single, "Rock Star." It went nowhere and, when the band split, Warman signed solo with Ringo Starr's Ring-O label, releasing a single in 1977 and a Germany-only...
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Walking Into Mirrors, Johnny Warman
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