Thu Apr 07 2011
I’m predicting 2012 will finally see a lull in the 80s retro craze.  I’m not a hater, either; the trend has produced some mind-blowing albums in the past couple of years, and this intriguing gothic/dreampop hybrid by MINKS is a fresh enough take on old styles, but while you’re floating in the comatose state between comfort and unease that By The Hedge induces, let me know if you come across any decent melodies, ‘cause I tried and I couldn't find any.

Fine, maybe melody isn’t what they’re going for, but surely they’d like to make some kind of impression?  The instrumental “Indian Ocean” sounds like the beginning of a Cure song that never arrives at a verse, and there are lots of Robert Smith-inspired tracks, from the obvious “Funeral Song” and “Cemetary[sic] Rain” to “Arboretum Dogs” and…okay, pretty much all of ‘em.  Except there aren’t any distinctive SONGS or an engaging singer.  Sean Kilfoyle and Amalie Bruun evoke Jesus And Mary Chain on near-fatal doses of muscle relaxers, which is saying something.  There are interesting stories and emotions buried in there but MINKS haven’t figured out how to express them yet.

The album is an impressive mixture of dark and light textures, sonically evocative but bafflingly unremarkable.  It’s like a high-end red velvet cake that nobody could be bothered to frost.  It’s got all kinds of mood and layers of well-chosen instrumentation, but even after several listens you won’t remember the names of any songs or how they go; you’ll just remember that they reminded you of something else.

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