Minks, a.k.a. Sonny Kilfoyle, is doing the same thing many bands are doing – experimenting. After his debut album, By The Hedge, was a bit of a creative disappointment, (being called Cure ripoffs is never good for your career) and along with the distance from his first album, he also left New York City. Getting away, he discovered a new sound, which is showcased throughout his second album, Tides End, named after his house. Bright, colorful, and poppy, the sophomore album finds that sound and crafts some great cuts.
From the very get-go, “Romans” cheaply shines. The weakest song on the album is the very first one, but it does immediately showcase the radical shift from moody, downer Cure-esque pop to super-synthetic, 80′s bubblegum pop. While it still maintains a slight Minks edge, “Romans” is highly marred from the synth riff that permeates throughout. It’s borderline annoying. “Happy birthday to the worst friend in the world,” he mutters in the first minute, which is about the peak of this track. “Everything’s Fine” starts showing the finer points of the album, with a very nice, slow groove. Minimal guitar is spread over most of the tracks on the album, but on this track, it particularly shines.
“Margot” heads back into “Romans” territory, but stays sweet, rather than bitter. A lovely tune, the vocals are particularly of note. Shiny synths fair much better on this track than the opener. “Playboys of the Western World” is a sure standout, with a huge emphasis on guitar and a much lower tone than the brighter pieces on the album. It still strains far away from By The Hedge but is the closest song to it, in terms of comparison. It’s almost Pet Shop Boys-esque. “Weekenders” is a laid-back tale that features a prominent bassline and probably the best vocal harmonies on the album. “Weekenders” is one of the more simpler tracks, with less going on and more about the groove or the feeling of the song, which is portrayed very well on an album that tries to do a lot.
The poppiest song on the album – “Painted Indian” – simply starts off with chiming guitar and then shifts immediately into a upbeat, dance-able tune. Other than naming colors, the vocals are dynamite, with a deadly “And I hear you got your sunglasses on / and you hate everyone” bit that will be stuck in your head. “Hold Me Now” has an infectious synth riff, but this one is much more down than the rest, even quoting nursery rhymes in a very dark way. A thumping bass bit echoes throughout, which adds a certain element to all of the fuzz, backed by a distant synth riff. The final line sums up the whole song – “There’s no life in the city when you’re not with me.”
The longest track, “Doomed And Cool,” is a much more emotional track, plastered with nostalgia. This track, compared to either of the first two tracks, is a serious-sounding piece of emotive pop that proves just how off the first couple were. “Ark Of Life” has probably the best vocal performance, with Minks hitting higher melodies than usual and will probably infect your mind. Album ender “Tides End” utilizes the excellent melodies, brings the right amount of guitar, and sings just beautifully – the perfect music for a cloudy-on-the-beach day. Overall, the last few tracks, are much, much better than even the middle section, minus “Playboys.”
Minks’ second album found the sound – the right sound. Sometimes, it misses the mark with some offbeat synths and maybe grates a little as a full album, but overall, Tides End is a better experience that you and Minks will enjoy as time passes on. It’s definitely a modern-day anomaly in showcasing the worst at the beginning, but maybe that was the plan all along – to weed out the simpletons who won’t listen to a full album and to find those who will listen to a full album, regardless of how the first one sounded. Pretty smart move.
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