Minders The Future's Always Perfect

Had Guided By Voices’ Robert Pollard decided early in his career to ditch the whole lo-fi angle, part ways with best friend Jack Daniels and form his band as a straight-forward pop group with harmonies and cohesive lyrics, they very likely would’ve sounded a lot like the Minders. This new EP, following their two excellent Elephant 6-affiliated full-lengths, is a brief return for the group, but it’s 26 minutes well spent; though it doesn’t augment their sound in any significant way, it hits hard and fast, rarely slowing down long enough to let us lose interest — the only glaring instance being the excellently produced but detrimentally dull "28X,” co-written and sung by keyboardist and former drummer, Rebecca Cole. Not surprisingly, the band’s primary songwriter, Martyn Leaper, offers the most interesting material here, including "Here Goes Nothing,” very possible the group’s best track since Hooray for Tuesday’s "Red Bus.” "All the Way Round” ends the EP with a clever Carl Newman-ish structure, culling nearly every element that makes this EP so intriguing and, hopefully, a harbinger of greater things to come. If only Apples In Stereo could’ve aged as well. (Future Farmer)