Minmae - "My Quiet Life"
(Blackbean and Placenta 2001, bbpt 213
From Aural Innovations #19 (April 2002)
The new full length from this Portland-based group, centered around one Sean Brooks, is an eclectic collection of songs which still manages to maintain a common thread to hold it all together. It starts off with several that are somewhere between the sparse minimalist rock of a band such as Bedhead and the lo-fi downer indie approach of GBV or early Smog.records. It's well done, but I actually much preferred the more experimental songs that come after. "I'm Getting out of Forensics" is based around a rhythmic loop, guitar heavy at the end. I especially liked "Autumn Festival", a meandering psych instrumental propelled by the drums of Jake Anderson from Gang Wizard. Just when you think that you have a handle on the Minmae thing, up comes "Southpaw Strikes Twice", which melds elements of electronica to spoken vocals and some truly unhinged squalling dissonant guitar work. This is probably the most unique and strange piece on the record, and also my personal favorite. Very nice. The CD finishes out with several songs that are more in the straight ahead rock mold, but with some different moves. "Bluebird" has a simple repetitive bass line (kind like The Fall) with spoken vocals and screeching/scraped violin from Emily May Davis from the SF group The Cubby Creatures. "The Bastard" and and the final song "Sound of One Hand Clapping" reminiscent of heavier guitar indie bands such as Hood or Slint. While one can certainly spot many of the influences abounding there is a definitely a common feeling that manifests itself throughout, and I can say that it is one of the nicer bits of lo-fi bedroom type of recordings that I have heard in a while. Recommended!
For more information you can visit the Minmae web site at: http://www.minmae.com.
Reviewed by Brian Faulkner