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The Minders | The Future's Always Perfect (Future Farmer)
Expatriate Martyn Leaper's The Minders return with an eight-track album first scheduled to appear on New York's Spin Art label (the Minders' home since 1998's poptastic 'Hooray for Tuesday') in the summer. Ours is not to speculate why, and whilst 'The Future's Always Perfect' isn't without its share of surprises, there's nothing here that could be classed as a radical departure, thus cause for contractual annulment.
Opener It's So Hard bears all the Minders hallmarks, effervescent pop the likes of which is rarely heard this side of early Costello or Squeeze, shot through with a GBV rawness, a singalong chorus and an intense la-la-la coda. Great stuff. Recent single Tearaway is next, a keyboard-heavy psychedelic masterpiece neatly tucked into a three-minute burst. Here Goes Nothing chugs along until its given a kick in the pants by a scream and a wayward lead guitar. Watch those power-pop purists run for cover! Rebecca Cole takes the mic for the first of her trio of lead vocals, Hahaha, a low-budget sci-fi indie-pop curiosity before Go Wave Your Wand is pulled from the file marked 'solid mid-album pop songs' tweaked with a couple of additional hooks from the 'plug-ins' menu. Perhaps it was the bass-led minimalism of Cole's 28x that had the folk at Spin Art scratching their heads? Its Moog interlude could have been lifted from one of those 'esoteric' soundtrack compilations, whilst her Jealous Baby is another mood-shifter, a downbeat, one-finger piano dirge with a curious Oh Superman mid-section. To close, Leaper returns with the wistful All The Way Round, sounding like an animated Sodastream or a restrained Robert Pollard.
So yes it's short, yes it's inconsistent and yes, I concede, it's not so easy to 'file under pop'; but those who like surprises and familiarity in their music need look no further.
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003