Release Date: Jan 25, 2011
Record label: Captured Tracks
Genre(s): Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Shoegaze
Minks’ singles hinted they were onto something special with their moody brand of pop, but they truly come into their own on By the Hedge. Early descriptions of Minks called them “goth-pop”; while shadows flit around the edges of nearly every track here, they’re never quite deep or dark enough to conjure the G-word. Even on songs like the lovely “Cemetery Rain” -- which certainly has a title conducive to all things bleak and morose -- the band evokes a summer sprinkle instead of a dark and stormy night.
Brooklyn's Captured Tracks label doesn't quite have a "house sound," but it is striking how many of their releases share an approach to guitar. Recent records from Wild Nothing, Beach Fossils, and Catwalk all have a similar penchant for long, languid melodic lines over gaps of quiet space. You can add to this list the debut LP, By the Hedge, from Boston indie pop outfit Minks.
Minks doesn’t take a tactical approach to song crafting, and By the Hedge, their full-length debut, makes that abundantly clear. For their first full release, they’ve opted for noisy, cluttered pop music rife with distorted guitars and reverb, floating vocals, and a keen sense of melody. This is music that feels incredibly ad hoc, but the results are engaging enough.
Newcomers Minks sound like they’re at a crossroads, which isn’t something you’d typically say about youngsters who just released their first album. But you can almost hear the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Boston twosome being pulled in different directions on its intriguing debut By the Hedge, coming off like a catchy indie-pop combo at moments, then a noise-playing shoe-gaze revival act at others. While Minks have the instincts and knack to make a strong first impression like, say, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Wild Nothing, they don’t have the same consistency and unified vision of those groups in grabbing, then holding on to your attention.
Though mention of the words ‘lo-fi’, ‘fuzzy’ and ‘goth pop’ might be enough to make you wish [a]Kelis[/a] would come and stomp all over these blog-infesting rodents with her killer heels of mighty bangitude to fashion herself a new stole, hey – don’t hate the playa, hate the game. Anyway, the cavernous, gothy likes of ‘[b]Out Of Tune[/b]’ have a depth tinted deeper than sepia, ‘[b]Life At Dusk[/b]’ a rich denseness that makes this a much more satisfying and varied listen than the likes of [b]TPOBPAH[b/]. The title of ‘[b]Folkin’ Hell[/b]’ even suggests a sense of humour.
The Brooklyn, New York, duo MINKS have been branded as goth throughout the Internet. Cure-like would be a more accurate label. Not in a Robert Smith croony kind of way, but more in a fuzzy aesthetic similarity that combines the best of 80s pop with occasional dark touches. So much talk about the band gets into how dark/heavy/foggy the sound is, and I can’t help but say, “really?” and then scratch my head, every time.
Yuck The British band Yuck has all the lazy affect of late-1980s to early-1990s indie rock, its guitars tuned to somewhere just north of indifferent. But this band’s self-titled debut (on Fat Possum) is disarming all the same, certain to be one of the year’s most unabashedly beautiful albums ….
Debuting with a couple of 7? singles is doing it the old-fashioned way, and the old-fashioned way is back. I’m not sure why it took so long, but with blogs playing the roll of zines, vinyl offering a real alternative to MP3 ubiquity as well as bringing back investment in music, and the massive scaling up of potential listeners (and customers) via the Internet, it’s become easier to press 500 singles, sell most of them, and create a buzz for a full-length release (without even doing much touring). Brooklyn duo Minks are doing it the old-fashioned way, with two great singles preceding the release of their full length debut By the Hedge, out on the modest but successful bedroom musician label Captured Tracks.