Minnaars rose from the ashes of post-math-alt-rock hopefuls Tired Irie, but have beefed up their sound since, and now their focus has shifted from guitar tunings to the girls dancing in the front row.
Their new EP Ideal & Error is a snappy stopgap released shortly before their European tour, and contains a handful of clearly very carefully crafted, but ever so slightly derivative and dated songs. But let’s start with the positives: ‘Armstrad Lions’ is an almost flawless, propulsive indie disco hit which starts and stops in all the right places and makes delicious use of meaty synths and gang shouts (“Medusa! Medusa!”). ‘Are Lovers’, with its hypnotic finger-tapping and bouncable bass line, manages to hit a few similarly sweet spots – the way the guitars and the (presumably) triggered drums interlock will leave only those with double hip replacements motionless.
But these aren’t grooves that we haven’t heard before. Bloc Party (and, to a less frantic extent, Franz Ferdinand) pioneered the modern danceable indie sound with their cut-class guitars and rolling-thunder-like drums, and the aforementioned Foals have long ditched their use of (cliche alert) yelpy vocals and clean guitars playing high-end riffs. There are also echoes of energetic post-punk legends ¡FФЯWДЯD, RUSSIД!, which isn’t surprising considering their lead singer Tom Woodhead has worked with Minnaars in the past.
On ‘Capricorns’, the similarity of the vocals to Kele Okereke is such as to be almost distracting, and the hectic nu-rave synth blasts grate after a few seconds. ‘Busy Hands’ is another kinetic, slogan-heavy (“I’ve been falling into bits/been like this since the Blitz”) banger, but its impact is lessened considerably by the lack of dynamics and diversity on offer here. For an EP, two out of four isn’t bad at all – and those two are genuinely good songs – but Minnaars don’t manage to display their whole range of talents.