The Minders

Down in Fall

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How can there be any new developments in pop music if you believe the old adage that there's nothing new under the sun? The answer proposed by the Elephant 6 collective (of which the Minders are members) is to take the best from everything. History becomes non-linear and questions of style and authenticity mute. Neutral Milk Hotel, the Apples in Stereo, and the Olivia Tremor Control have all found seemingly endless possibilities for recreation using pop's language. Admirably, each member has chosen selectively enough to create something of their own (the Apples in Stereo equals one-half cup of the Beach Boys, one-fourth cup of mind-bending psychedelia, a teaspoon of Sonic Youth, etc.). The Minders are no exception. In fact, frontman Martyn Leaper's songwriting is even more diverse and the lines between genres more clearly established. Down in Fall's five songs establish five distinct musical worlds. It kicks off with the edgy acoustic guitar/keyboard chug of "Young and With It" where Leaper delivers vaguely cautionary tales to overzealous youth ("no one's going to tell you that you're hopeless and you'll never see the harm"). It's followed by the EP's most striking track. "On and On" (co-written with drummer Rebecca Cole) defies any clear genre and offers some stunning instrumental combinations. Cole sticks to her toms, adding color with washes from her ride cymbal. Flute and shimmering clavichord spin melodies around Leaper. Cole also contributes the piano-led instrumental "Time Machine." You'd be hard pressed to find a more ready-made piece of film music. With one listen, you are bound to see the blur of unintelligible opening credits scrolling through your mind. There is even a foray into whiskey-soaked country on "The Loneliest of Faces." Like their colleagues, the Minders take elements from the past and filter them through the consciousness of the present for music that always seems one step ahead.

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