The Jasmine Minks

The Revenge Of...

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The Jasmine Minks are one of the great underrated bands of the '80s. At times sounding like Echo & the Bunnymen without the epic ambition or the Go-Betweens with more Motown records in their collection, their sound combined the energy of punk with the tunefulness of indie pop and brimmed with soul and fury, introspection and hooks. Revola's The Revenge Of... gathers together 24 songs recorded in the '80s for Creation. Taken from their three albums and various singles, the end result is a very impressive body of work that certainly rehabilitates their reputation and should boost their standing in the annals of Creation immensely. Listening to the songs 20 years later, one is struck by just how strong they are. At the time, they were sort of eclipsed by their roster mates like Primal Scream and the Weather Prophets, bands whose songs' charms were in part due to their ultra-melodic and simple nature. The Jasmine Minks' songs are melodic to be sure but are fraught with tension, from the often skittering beats to the searching, manly vocals of Jim Shepard to the political and angst-filled tone of the lyrics. The best songs, like the powerful "Think!," "Cry for a Man," "Marcella," and "Reaching Out," make a strong case for the Jasmine Minks as a great lost band. In fact, their finest song, "Cut Me Deep," is a beautifully heartbroken song that is the equal of anything the Smiths or the Teardrop Explodes or anyone else for that matter recorded in the '80s. The band was at their best on the uptempo songs that threatened to grab you by the throat and shake you alive, but they also were able to write affecting ballads like "Cold Heart," a soulful acoustic ballad with some wonderful group vocals. Indeed, by the end of Revenge, the band is creating mature, highly arranged pop tunes that, while lacking the energy of the earlier material, still pack a soulful punch. They managed to grow up without losing the reason they were a band or changing so much that their original fans would dismiss them. If you missed out on the Jasmine Minks the first time around, this is an excellent opportunity to relive the memories you never had. Indeed, if you like indie pop or are a rock fan at all, you should really think about giving the Minks a listen. Your interest will be paid off by excellent songs and performances. It may be a stretch to say the band is on par with the legends of British indie pop, but they certainly are at the very top of the second division. Packaged with a typical amount of love and care by Revola, The Revenge Of... is one of the top reissues of 2004.

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