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The Minders | Golden Street (spinART)
Since releasing their debut Hooray For Tuesday in 1998, the core members of The Minders, principle songwriter and British expatriate Martyn Leaper and his wife, Rebecca Cole, have relocated to Portland, Oregon from their original base in Denver. With the exception of the '99 compilation, Cul De Sac & Dead Ends, which gathered together a number of singles and some unreleased material, the band's follow up has undergone a relatively long period of gestation especially considering their previously prolific singles output. The arrival of an EP, Down In Fall, last autumn, heralded their reappearance. As well as retaining many of the peculiarly familiar characteristics associated with the Elephant 6 collective, the acknowledged Anglophile bias of their influences, from The Kinks and early Who to The Beatles and Syd Barrett, The Minders' early singles were also released on the label and produced by Robert Schneider of The Apples In Stereo. However, unlike their American peers, they have the authenticity of a genuinely British voice to express their material, an impressive mix of naïve, occasionally noisy pop, mellow psychedelia and studio experimentation. Recorded in Martyn Leaper's home studio, which he has assembled in his loft, some of the material could be construed as lacking a little focus and bordering on the self-indulgent, Nice Day For It gets lost in itself once or twice and at more than 7 minutes duration to term the indulgence as prog-rock wouldn't be too far from the truth. Elsewhere though, such as on the title track with its cascading piano run, courtesy of Rebecca Cole, the Big Star like Hand In Heart and We Never Shout with its Air-like keyboard break, the band's ability to adapt classic 60s pop influences and their own flair for invention on limited resources provides an abundance of melodic riches. Golden Street certainly has its share of nuggets, but with perhaps just a little more judicious editing in future, The Minders may reward us with something extremely precious.

Geraint Jones
CWAS #8 - Summer 2001

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