Mineral “Plastic Ekphrastic” (359 Music, 2013)
Mineral is an electronic quartet from Paris and Dublin that offer bouncy dance music with chanting vocals and funky backbeats that will fit in nicely with your St. Etienne, Air, Gainsbourg, and Daft Punk records. The album’s centerpiece is the 13-minute “Atoms”, which quietly saunters around the room on swirling synths, bubbling keyboards, and Craig Walker’s monotonic, doomy/gloomy vocals until a dreamy middle section floats off into U2 territory with a quite entertaining, pop flourish that’s equal parts (McCartney) Beatlesque and Rundrenesque prog. Picture yourself inside the spaceship that floats through the bloodstream in “Fantastic Voyage” while listening to this one! It’s really a 3-song suite, and each section could’ve stood alone quite naturally, but Walker’s intro/outro brings it full circle.
“Cynical” may sound like New Order light, but that doesn’t make it any less infectious, and the rest of the album is just as perky and effervescent, including early single “Love Divine”, the lushly romantic “Mi-Clos” (featuring a breathy, tres sexy, coo-coo-cachoo vocal from S. Armelle), and the album’s best track, the nostalgically giddy New Wave sing-along, “1989” (think St. Etienne-meets-Human League).
With the first two releases on Alan McGee’s new imprint focusing on singer-songwriters, it’s encouraging to hear him branch out into other musical styles and augurs well for the variety we eagerly anticipate with his next round of releases.
Review made by Jeff Penczak/2013
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