The Mink Lungs

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It's true that even at a time when there seemed to be a competition of sorts among many indie bands to be the most eclectic, the Mink Lungs' debut was one of the most eclectic indie rock offerings around. It's also true that it's much harder to raise eyebrows with this approach than it used to be; you can't have the same earth-shattering effect as the Mothers of Invention did in the 1960s just by deciding to be avowedly weird and funny. Still, they try, turning most often to slightly wacky and twisted songs of romance or the absurd. There's enough of spiky guitar to let some new wave/punk roots show, enough pleasing folky melodies to reach out to folk-rock and singer/songwriter-friendly audiences, and enough weird noise integration to let you know they know their avant-garde aesthetic too. "Remaining Loyal" could just about make it into a public radio folk show, though it's doubtful any folky programmers will get far enough into the disc (it's track 13) to discover it. They should leave the out-and-out electronic noise passages out, however. It's the type of record that will take a few listenings to fully grasp, yet somehow does not leap out as something that distinguishes them as among the best groups at doing what they do. Maybe part of the problem is that it's hard to say what they do, exactly.

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