The Minders It’s A Bright Guilty World

[Future Farmer; 2006]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: indie pop, power pop
Others: Of Montreal, Voxtrot

Assessing indie-pop albums is a lot trickier than I ever would have imagined. Bands that stand out tend to have some major contextual factors working in their favor as talking points; Belle and Sebastian's mysterious nature, The Smiths' where-the-hell-is-this-music-coming-from, The Decemberists' maritime chic, and so forth. In that respect, The Minders definitely lose, unless you count such memorable features as... wait for it... a British singer in an American band and an Elephant 6 connection! I know, a recipe for success!

But since I'm a rock critic, let's forget about filthy context and go for objectivity. Let's break it down, kids!

The Sound: Hmmm... standard retro. Unless you consider unique the standard, in which case bass, drums, vox, guitars, and keyboards reemerge as unusual. No tubas, sitars, electronics, accordions, or such nonsense, but occasionally they turn the amps up until things border on power-pop.

Innovation: Ouch, this one really hurts for them.

Melodies: Okay, doing better here. I'm not well-versed in dissecting the complexity of phrasing, so let's just say that these melodies will hide in your brain by the second time you hear them. Some might have a problem with the use of "dirty-tricks" like key changes in "Don't You Stop," but because I consider "Take My Breath Away"* a modern masterpiece, I can't argue here.

Tunes: Dang it, it's always the elusive category where a band like this wins. What can I say except that I really love a lot of songs on this album, I sing them in moments of silence, and I want to hear them far beyond the normal requirements of music reviewing. "Savour All The Days," "Jenny," and "Same Time, Same Place" will surely win over any indie-pop fan with their undeniable energy and unrelenting hummability.

Well, here I am, finding that the components do not necessarily capture how good these songs are. Now, without a unique context, I worry that this little album might fall through the cracks. So, don't let the fact that you can't say things like "You know, I heard the band is made up of, like, thirty-five Australians" keep you from giving It's A Bright Guilty World a spin.

*Note reviewer does not actually think "Take My Breath Away" is a masterpiece. The reviewer does like it, but thinks that "Danger Zone" is the best song on the Top Gun Soundtrack.

1. "There Goes My Forumla!"
2. Don't You Stop
3. Red Admiral's (Gonna Pass Me)
4. Accidental Joy
5. Crest of the Hill
6. Same Time, Same Place
7. Savour All The Days
8. Jenny
9. In the Middle of Your Love
10. Saturday Morning
11. Remember, Remember
12. 357
13. Glittering Dream
14. Guns of August