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[Minmae] – ¿ya te vas?


[Minmae] not only has an odd name (which came from some old cartoon that the band’s singer, Sean Brooks used to watch on television) but an odd style of music as well – one that I hesitate to describe with even the frilliest and most complex, yet endearing, of adjectives. Alas, I must try! With Sean Brooks on vocals, Josh Kempa on the bass, and Greg Murphy on drums, it doesn’t take me long to realize that this band perhaps has not done something ridiculously new and innovative in terms of technique or genre, yet has managed to toss enough fruit into the bowl to create quite a lovely ambrosia salad of sound.

According to the band’s website,, “the band’s primary goal and function [is] to create, further understand the ‘reasons’ for creation and to establish rapport with the listener through neuro-linguistic programming and ‘scene setting.’”

Uhh, I don’t know about that programming bit, but here’s my official listener’s rapport about the album:

First and foremost, I hear Brooks sing achingly simple yet pungent lyrics in a style that’s extremely reminiscent of Lou Reed. Soulful, indifferent, and a little left of center. And beautiful in their own right, indeed. In tracks with a crunchy peach-fuzz guitar sound, such as “Circumspect, I Followed It,” I hear unassuming similarities to Doug Martsch and the Shins, even though I try hard to hear other things. The surprising thing is that even though I feel as though I’ve heard all this before, I can’t help but be impressed by the Beatle-esque simplicity and goodness of the songs. It’s a little creepy, honestly, only because I find myself enjoying it, or at least not detesting it. It’s a lo-fi album whose high but not mighty sound just seems to make sense, much like releases by Iron & Wine or Elliot Smith. Okay, now we’re messin’ with the big dogs, but suffice to say that [Minmae] is tagging along at their heels quite nicely.

The lyrics are odd, yet when carried by Brooks’ vocal chords; they all blend in with the sound, like root beer and ice cream. Like any good pairing, it just works. On “The Lover’s Snatch,” Brooks croons “run a finger on the past with a match / waiting for your lovers smile to hatch / puking ideas on this carpet/rightly so and so far away from it.” I hate when I puke my ideas onto the carpet! That stuff stains worse than red wine! Simple guitar plucks and chord chunks, though not unusual on their own, combine to create something a little different and a little unconventional. I mean, the brackets in their name should have been evidence enough of their unconventionality, but just in case you needed more proof, I have provided it! In any case, don’t take my word for it; I could just be under the influence of all that neuro-linguistic programming!

Devil In The Woods


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