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Album review: Minden - Exotic Cakes





Album review: Minden - Exotic Cakes

When Casey Burge and company packed their leather pants and headed for the coast, it was a tough blow for Kansas City's thriving music scene. There is little room to question that they were losing both one of their most eccentric and fiercely talented family members.

Minden had slammed onto the scene with a hipster pop meets dance rock sound, turning heads of indie snobs and shaking the asses of scene girls. Having the ability to go note for note and toe to toe with any band in the surrounding area, Minden had gathered a massive following. Due to their ability to kick in teeth and fill bars, a majority of the scene pouted in unison at the announcement of their departure. But alas, even the addition of Google Fiber couldn’t make them stay. Skipping town for Portland, Oregon's thriving and bearded scene, the band's first full-length album, Exotic Cakes, which was recorded at Element Recording of Kansas City by producer Joel Nanos (bro-love), would only be partially an “816” release. For this review however, we're simply going to assume Portlandia is a long reaching suburb to the KC Metro.

Upon first listen, Exotic Cakes is a touch underwhelming. While spectacular in both production and musicianship, the album seems to lack the hooks essential in pushing a release right over the top. The truth is however, that they are there. They're just sneaky little bastards, slipped into the folds of the band's unique songwriting. Once the listener dives deeper into the "dance-if-you-want-to" qualities of the release, they’ll find tiny hidden quirks buried and layered in the mix. If committed to the growth process of an album, the average listener will be blessed with Minden's ability to give. They're like a Christmas tree that never runs out of presents, regardless of how many you manage to open.

Elements of Minden's magical live show manage to slip into their release and cling to the listener like glitter on a dance hall floor. The energy that can be heard in the approach of the band is unquestionable. There is no room to deny that the band adores the music they are making. Take “New Age” for example. The drum- and vocal-based track oozes sexuality and begs for a slow grind. The shifts from the chorus to the verses manage to be balanced somewhere between smooth and unexpected. This keeps the listener both interested and on their toes. Chances are, if you know what chord progression or instrument is coming next, you’re probably in the band. Minden is either that ahead of the curve or bat shit crazy.

One might be able to make a logical case for both. I’d be willing to argue that they were brilliant in an “Andy Kauffman” kind of way.

Score: 8/10

-Joshua Hammond

After stints drumming for both The Afternoons and Jenny Carr and the Waiting List in the Lawrence/Kansas City music scene, Joshua Hammond found his footing as a music journalist, launching the national publication Popwreckoning. After running the show as Editor in Chief for 6 years, Hammond stepped away from the reigns to freelance for other publications like Under The Gun Review and High Voltage Magazine. This shift allowed the adequate amount of time for him to write passionately, allow the Kansas City Royals to break his heart on a daily basis and spoon his cats just enough that they don't shred his vinyl. 

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Published: August 09, 2012 |

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