Black Minnaloushe is the brainchild/project of Wellingtonian Andrew Carey – he played in The Livids with his cousin Sean O’Brien who is perhaps better known these days for playing under the name Joe Blossom. So he had this kinda melodic, almost dream-pop bed to work from but adds to that bits of wonky, woozy, wobbly sub-electronica, jam-band extrapolations from where alt-country logically concludes and late-night have-a-stab self-conscious (nearly) soul parodies.
None of that should sound bad by the way – that’s me selling this record! Am I terrible at that? Oh well, tough shit, just as well that’s not my job. My job is to tell you why I do or don’t like something.
I like this because it reminds me of the Bannerman project’s intentions and the solo persona that Barnaby Weir adopted about a decade ago, Flash Harry. It reminds me of some of The Phoenix Foundation’s more recent excursions too – particularly on what I would consider the album highlight, A Little Bit A Part Of Me and the track before that, Circles. This is no surprise to me given Tom Callwood and Will Ricketts, crucial elements of the wonderful Phoenix rhythm section (and overall sound) appear on this record. And it’s been mixed, in part, by Lee Prebble and mastered by Mike Gibson; they’ve also done their time with the Phoenix crew.
There are plenty of other guests on this record too – Holly Beals from Family Cactus, Joe Lindsay from Fat Freddy’s Drop and The Yoots, Sophie Burbery (Little Bark).
I Can’t See You Anymore wouldn’t have been out of place on either of the last two Lawrence Arabia albums you know. Same with All Your Life too, actually, although it hints back to Milne’s earliest work…something in the yearning…
Points too for releasing the record on lovely shiny, smart, damn-near iridescent blue vinyl. Nice.
But its’ a lovely set of songs and this project all came together through crowd-funding, a PledgeMe campaign to make a record. How I feel about those projects is neither here nor there, I’m pretty much in the whatever it takes/if you want to do it camp. But I often worry that those sorts of campaigns can boost the confidence of a writer or artist when in fact they don’t actually have anything to say, they just have more friends than they perhaps realised. But I do like it when the result of a crowd-funding project is something I like to hear or read or partake in; take something from.
And I do like this record a lot. I reckon it’s got a little bit of something for everyone, some charming but clanging pop songs, a bit of a shambles then, in the loveliest, loping-est way. And it is a record that’s been made for the right reasons really – to pay back the people who paid for it; a reward for the fans and friends that chose to support this, that recognised the talent. There’s certainly plenty of talent on display here. It’s a sharp (but lovingly loose) set of songs. Give it a go. I rate it.