Those of you who reveled in the shadowy electronic pop of the first release by Minks might find this hard to swallow, but for all intents and purposes, Tides End is a pretty straightforward pop record. Gone are the hazy vocals and coats of atmospherics, though the lyrical material still maintains a bit of darkness. While some of the winter layering of the previous effort might have been shed, the core aesthetic remains the same, leaving listeners with a shimmering album for any time of day.
It’s hard not to notice the immediacy of the beats and the glittery touch as soon as you press play on Tides End. “Romans” bursts forth with a beat built to pick up the feet on the dance floor, before Sonny Kilfoyle gently croons his way into the mix. By the time you make it to the chorus, you’ll definitely notice similarities to surf-pop wunderkind The Drums (just my opinion). Still, this album succeeds in its ability to completely depart into a more accessible pop spectrum, such as you’ll hear on “Everything’s Fine.” Ringing bits of guitar accentuate the beats, and you’ll find it hard not to get stuck with the simple chorus in your head. Personally, I like the slight bit of restraint, as the beats aren’t pounding down your door; they’re airy, yet full of merriment.
Really, you could write about any of the new songs from Minks in the same manner, praising their thoughtful approach to songwriting, allowing for the hooks to bloom, rather than be buried beneath over-processed studio touches. There are, however, a few songs that step outside the boundaries set forth by Kilfoyle on this release, such as “Painted Indians.” It playfully drifted in, as many of the songs do, but then the forceful entry of the lyrics were surprising, in a good way. It provided a touch of variation, even as the verses received the calm smoothing vocal Sonny seems to prefer on this go round.
My first go round, I definitely gravitated towards “Margot” as my favorite hit on Tides End, but the more I listen, and the more I notice the care in every twist and turn, the more often my favorite tends to change. Right now, I’m really digging the oddly exuberant “Doomed and Cool.” Sure, there’s an obvious nostalgic bent, even with the guitar tones, but I’m not going to knock anyone for loving old school pop music. You should probably listen to “Ark of Life” as well, just in case you’re looking for your favorite new love song.
I think a lot of people are going to be on the fence with Minks after this listen. Their first album was dark, yet enchanting. Tides End, well, it’s simply enchanting. There’s no mystery to the pop sensibility, and in many ways, that makes it much more enduring, and endearing. And, if you’re looking to get snobby, one can go through the whole record twice, and not feel like you’ve listened to the same thing…such are the careful touches that were put into the production and writing of this record. I assure you, given time, you’ll find yourself really enjoying the listen from start to finish.
Download: Minks – Everything’s Fine [MP3]