Splitsville, Repeater; The Minders, Hooray For Tuesday

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The Minders
Hooray For Tuesday
(Elephant 6/spinART)
by Sarah Zupko
PopMatters Editor & Publisher

Two of the year’s more important pop releases come from labels that seldom miss in producing excellence in the genre. Splitsville possess an impeccable pop pedigree—two thirds of the band hail from seminal power-popsters Greenberry Woods. Their previous work Ultrasound, Splitsville U.S.A. and Pet Soul scarcely hints at the huge leap forward they have taken on Repeater. It’s rather like when Radiohead graduated from the mediocre Pablo Honey to The Bends. Splitsville have seemingly developed a more mature sound overnight. The songs range from the all-out edgy pop-rock of “I Concentrate On You” and “Dayjob” to the strikingly beautiful “The Master Of Space And Time,” a piece of pristine Baroque pop informed by Sgt. Peppers-era Beatles that recalls the harmonic structure of “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite.” Repeater is a smorgasbord of great pop influenced equally by The Beatles, The Zombies, Queen, and the harder side of The Jam. Meanwhile, the Minders are even more thoroughly entrenched in 60s British beat on their debut Hooray For Tuesday, a veritable textbook of Beatles worship that still manages to sound fresh. Led by Englishman Martyn Leaper and produced by Elephant 6 meister Robert Schneider (Apples In Stereo), the album is awash in summery pop that is more musically robust than much of their more lo-fi Elephant 6 brethren. The title track is a glorious gasp of perfect Magical Mystery Tour magic, complete with marching band horns and psychedelic sound effects, while “Joey’s Pez” recalls the infectious rhythm of the early Who. Both releases are essential for anyone who loves a great melody and appreciates the tunesmithery of Lennon/McCartney and Squeeze.

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