The Reflection Box is the moniker used by Donegal songwriter, session musician, and multi-instrumentalist Sarah E. Cullen. Not only did the multiple Grammy and Oscar-winning producer T Bone Burnett sent Sarah a personal message, but also agreed to lend his voice to her new single ‘On Lying’. A clip from a keynote speech he gave at SXSW resonated with the singer’s message in the song - and as she was looking for a piece of spoken word to include in the track. She sent T Bone’s management a message to ask if she could use it, and T Bone, after listening to unmixed tracks from the album, gave his permission and also best wishes for the project with a personal message and endorsement.
The Reflection Box’s new single, ‘On Lying’ addresses some of the more unsettling changes that the dominance of social media in online communication has wrought in our personal lives; the devaluation of the creative industries, data surveillance, the polarisation of the masses, the prevalence of the attention industry, and the eponymous “post-truths”, conspiracy theories and “fake news” items that are propagated so successfully on the medium.
‘On Lying’ is the first taster of ‘Notes from the Wonderground’, the debut album by The Reflection Box.The album features 8 original songs and one cover, a departure for the singer from her usual activity of reinterpreting favourite songs or rearranging other works. The songs deal with the universal themes of love, loss, hope and human connection. An experienced session musician and arranger, this debut album is an exploration of the various styles she has employed in both the session room and the stage. The songs vary from piano ballads to more complicated atmospheric pieces, written, arranged and performed by the singer, and recorded in Amberville Studios and Attica Audio.
The album is the diverse musical expressions of a single personality, hence The Reflection Box. Sarah herself plays Piano; Double Bass; Guitar; Violin; Mandolin; Hammond Organ, Fender Rhodes, and arranges Backing Vocals as well as composing and singing the songs on the album.
The instrumental start of the song sets a light mood, as a ballad, yet the percussion brings in a sense of a ritual and turn things on the darker side. The angelic vocal contrasts with the darkness of the melody. The spoken word part in the track is exciting, refreshing and well fitting. The darkness behind this song is striking. Lyrics are powerful, showing us how the social media reality can be very deceiving and very far from the truth. And those who follow you on social media may not always be doing that because they enjoy what you do. The principal message of his song could be defined as follows: "be cautious and don't let the social media take over your life."
"You look nice in the picture, but maybe that’s just the filter, Doesn’t really matter anyway
So long as it’s right on trend, but am I your follower or your friend?
It’s hard to tell the difference these days"