Sunday, 12 June 2011


The Mint Chicks are of course sadly no more. I know a dead-band when I see one. They traveled off-shore to The West Coast of the U.S to find fame and fortune in the biggest bird-bath and ended-up imploding amongst sibling tensions at the beginning of last year (2010) Trying to cubby-hole The Mint Chicks was/is no easy task. My first impressions of ‘Octagon, Octagon, Octagon’ was I was listening to a jam session by the first line-up of XTC. Free flowing experimentation, in your face vocals, tight as a nats butthole rhythm section and that ‘taking the piss attitude.’ Well now their former guitarist Ruban Nielson (the one with the Joe 90 glasses) has come-up from his Portland basement studio with a new, three piece, band called Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The music Illuminati describe UMO (I’m way too too lazy to spell it out all the time) as psychedelic and sure there are such influences in the mix – but a friggin pysch band? Me thinks not. Listening to their videos on You Tube my palette detects as much Blur as say Can, Beatles as Dukes of The Stratosphear. Distinct characteristics of Haight Asbury in one song and not the next.  Now I’ve listened to their first offerings "do I prefer Ruban Nielsons solo project to The Mint Chicks?" Honesty call, on first impressions – no (see it wasn’t that hard to do) A large part of me wants to scream “Kiss and make-up with your bro would ya!?” But it’s early days and my jury of one is presently out. Memo to self: run UMO past number one son who was a huge Mint Chicks fan. Kiwi music history is littered with bands “that should have made-it” (notice the inverted commas) Straightjacket Fits and The Mint Chicks are two of bands that top my list of ‘if there was a God they should have been bigger than Lady GaGa’. This ramble isn’t to say I necessarily dislike UMO, it’s just that in the short-term at least I’m going to content myself with The Mint Chicks back catalogue and that dreaded imponderable of what could have been. Being a libertarian I’ll leave you to make your own mind-up on the merits of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. I also won't feel bitter & twisted if they do happen to 'make it.' It's about bloody time a Kiwi band did.



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