Minders Cul-de-Sacs & Dead Ends

Last year’s Hooray For Tuesday debut album by the Minders was classic pop perfection. Fronted by songwriter Martyn Leaper, the band epitomises the tuneful ideals of British pop in the ‘60s. Leaper comes by his anglophilia honestly, born in England and moving to the U.S. in the mid-’80s. Although some might feel it’s a tad early to be compiling the young band’s beginnings, those lending an ear to these first musical pearls will realise how sinful it would be to keep them locked up in rare vinyl heaven. Cul-de-Sacs & Dead Ends compiles the band’s first four out-of-print seven-inch singles recorded between ‘96 and ‘98 along with a zine compilation track and four unreleased tracks that have just recently been completed. These recordings might be a bit rougher and wear their influences a little more brazenly than tracks from Tuesday but they show a band hitting their stride from the very first steps. The driving rhythms and singing bass lines lay up the most heavenly hook laden melodies imaginable. The ‘60s never sounded better in the ‘90s with elements of early modsters the Who (“Better Things”), Syd Barret’s psychedelic Pink Floyd (“Rocket 58”), the exquisite harmonies of the Beatles (“Chatty Patty”) and the anthemic Kinks (“Waterlooville”) all making their presence felt. Other stunners include the head nodding purity of “Build,” the sublime melodic convolutions of “Sally,” “Now I Can Smile”’s giddy pop and the intoxicating organ groove of “Big Machine.” Now that the retrospective is taken care of, let’s just induct the Minders into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. (Spinart)