Album Review

Bad Buzz EP

Bad Buzz EP

By The Mint Chicks

7 / 10
30th March 2010

By Paul Gallagher


I've always held a marked level of respect for the Mint Chicks ever since I first picked up my copy of Octagon, Octagon, Octagon at a show in some seedy little bar in downtown Auckland in 2003. Seasons and years have come and gone since then, with the departure and reintegration of Michael Logie, a spell or two in rubbing shoulders in Portland, a cheeky half dozen New Zealand Music Awards under their belts to go with their six major physical releases and limited edition oddities. And here they are again, testing the waters with a newer approach having nursed commercial success with Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! (2006) and Screens (2009) only to turn around and simply dump Warner Music.

 

Much lauded in the past for their new-Buzzcocks style, the Mint Chicks have been changing gears and shifting inspiration in recent releases. While the majority of the rest of the world are gazing longingly at the ripe richness that synth-oriented 1980s back catalogues have to offer, the Mint Chicks may have searching elsewhere - Bad Buzz EP harks respectfully back to the glory days of the best of mid-1990s Brit Pop. Seriously, there are deep veins of Supergrass or even Elastica within all these four tracks.

 

Evocative, as every Mint Chicks release typically is, there is a significant level of nostalgia here. Whether singing about love and love lost as with Say Goodbye or drug-addled sex sold in the title track Bad Buzz, there's a reflective attitude of almost harking-back, something that's been rarely evident in a band that's previously chosen to exist more in the now. It's an almost romantically ironic take on the milieau of the changing modernism and naval gazing that was seen fifteen-to-twenty years ago. Pill popping prostitution and Eastern philosophy-riddled social echelons are targeted squarely - it's a surprise that the band hasn't based itself in the greater Manchestor or London area rather that Oregon, this release is just so time-synced with the England of that period. ABC Reharmonised falls somewhat flat as a form of needless luxury, a reforming of a primary school nursery rhyme that we're no doubt all able to recall. But it does add to the reminiscence. The closer, You've Got Spray Paint In Your Third Eye, falls as near as any of the tracks on this EP do to the band's earlier work - building with drum staccato,  but then breaking into pop riffs and then a noisy finish to end with blips.

 

Released digitally as MP3s via the internet and within a band-art adorned USB stick, the Mint Chicks have shied away from the more traditional forms of the release - while it may rub the noses of labels and music retailers, there's no compact disc anywhere in sight. The tracks are refreshing, thought-provoking and above all else infectiously fun to listen to. In a world currently jam packed with the drab synths of chillwave and dark noise distortion, the Mint Chicks have again delivered us something  intelligent to enjoy from somewhere from where we can't quite identify - and I for one like it a lot.

 




comments
Total: 25
user image
Give it a year, and like many other average NZ bands no one will know who they are. Their music is boring and unmemorable, they have just ridden on the dirty indie pop bandwagon which is about to crash and burn.

Posted by bob - anonymous 3 years ago

user image
Hey, on bad buzz its a decending Dminor, honestly not a bad Ep in my opinion

Posted by Tom - anonymous 3 years ago

user image
I do have to agree that some of this ep sounds like In It For The Money. And that don't have to be a bad thing guys.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
I just heard ABC reharmonised for the first time today and it is such tragic trash. What was the point? Maybe they should do a song next time on ronald mcdonalds song trying to get kids to wear seatbelts.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
Musichype = muse

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
Saying muse are shit is pretty safe do you actually have the balls to talk about what you like or is too risky that someone might dis it mama's boy

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
Having a firm grasp on how politics work is always key if you want to talk about the government, obviously your not going to engage your 8 year old cousin in a discussion over fair trade. listening to you talk about music is like listening to Ronald Regan talk about hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
muse are shit..

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
The elam basher probably goes to elam, they dig self loathing there don't they?

And by the way arsehole, saying that you can't comment on music unless you play music is like saying you can't comment on politics unless you're a politician. You are completley pretentious on so many levels. Just because I may not shred on a fucken telecaster when you might be able to, doesn't make you more qualified to talk about how shit muse are.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
Bet ya the Elam basher goes to AUT ps. the mint chicks would kick your arse.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
No you don't have to play music to appreciate it, but when you give your opinion on something you know nothing about then that makes you the areshole so everybody's entitled to their opinion but if you don't know what your talking about maybe save it for your mum.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
Why is it that local bands stir such seething levels of emotion among people? Some of these comments are borderline offensive. Why is it not ok for a reviewer to essentially say a ep or album from a local band is ok but not great? I would have given it a flat 5/10 myself. People take this staff WAY too personally.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
Nah its not the mint chicks writing this stuff. Its musichype who think the mint chicks are just a brand . I cant believe the band fell for this shit. Pay 3 bucks to watch a video of the mint chicks? Pay 25 bucks for a usb stick? this is complete and utter consumerist trash. the musichype business model is just as bad as any major label. they have quirky competitions that you can bet the band didnt even want. do all this work for the mint chicks who have to suffer the lame ideas of some dicks oiut in newtown aka musicheype. make a vid and you can have a tshirt. um? give me a break. Im suprised ruban and kody cant' see thurogh the bullshit. stick to being diy dads, craft mag writers and amatuer bloggers you musichype cunts. go knit some more woolies for a fucken tree. musichype wont work in the usa.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
Looking at how defensive some of these rants are, i wonder if the cry baby mint chicks elam art school wank douches are writing this stuff. After that piece of shit fight the other weeek you couldn't put it past them.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
Hey arsehole, since when did you have to play music in order to appreciate it? That's a pretty elitist point of view.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
Do you people even play music? can you play an instrument? I doubt most of you can, including the reviewer and that is why you guys crap on about the same old shit all the time comparing this to that and that to this. You talk around the music never actually about the music for the simple reason 'you don't know what the fuck your talking about'! name a song that you think can't be compared to anything else and ill give you 5 you can compare it to.
You don't know about the cool major chord decention in "Bad Buzz" or how the arrangement changes with every verse and chorus you don't talk about weather or not you like the polyphonic melody's, why? because you don't know what the fuck they are "and there's your formula", yeah whatever dick lets here your formula

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
I'm surprised the reviewer gave this a 7 considering the obvious mixed views he has about it. I don't know about that ABC song either aye, it just seems if the wheels have fallen off a bit. Conceptual or not, it's just try hard crap. The Mint Chicks sure ain't as glossy as they used to be. This is just a step backwards for them.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
Hate makes things interesting. Hate away.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
This band isnt even cool anymore. Can anyone even imagine seeing this played live?!?? And what was with the PR stunt 'fight' last week in Auckland?? Sorry to be a hater.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
7/10 is probably too generous. It's short and not exactly groudn breaking. it just sounds like Coombes or Zappa or a dozen other musicians. Derivative rubbish. Title track is ok though.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
I don't know what's more wank - this band, or people who know so much about them that they know each and every video or cover or interview they have. there's a bit of lengthy wording in this review for sure, but just because Paul's not making a Zappa reference doesn't make the review bad. He's got an opinion, whatever. At least he's spot on about one thing. ABC Reharmonised sucks - what a waste of time.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
I think Paul's review was a good and sincere deconstruction. I must admit the modernism comment was borderline uni wank but it just highlights the Mint Chicks ability to evoke and transport the listener which I find lacking in a lot of 'modern' NZ bands.

Without intellectualizing too much, Mint Chicks have always worn their influences on their sleeves but it has never been a detriment to the music and their validity has never been questioned. This in itself is fresh and unique. The Mint Chicks are not "rip-offs" in other words.

Yes, it has Zappa written all over it but I can also hear shades of Britpop too. The title track actually reminds me of Clover Over Dover by Blur which could be a Kinks tune.

60's pop, 90's pop...it's all good :)

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
Thanks for the dissertation Paul. Are we not missing the point of music when we intellectualise it like that?Jesus "...romantically ironic take on the milieu of the changing modernism..." Come on? Save that for your university paper on early 20th century literature. Besides, you spelt “milieu” wrong.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
I think you're missing something, or a lot. Take the general idea of FTGY and mix it with the Vimeo basement videos Mint Chicks did: they covered one Zombies track and two Zappa tracks, and there's your formula. If you dismiss 'ABC Reharmonised' for the sole fact that the lyrics are the alphabet song you might be missing something, meaning you're definitely missing a lot. I have to credit my brother Josh in saying, I quote, it is "so fucking Zappa". 90s Britpop? Revisit half a century ago, especially how much Ruban has said in recent interviews he's listening to his old 60s favourites. The only reason why 'Bad Buzz' should earn '7/10' instead of '10/10' is because it's eleven minutes long. Revisit.

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago

user image
Don't know if anyone else thinks the same, but I reckon the EP has 2 excellent songs and 2 awful ones, in that order....purposeful perhaps?

Posted by - anonymous 4 years ago



comments



Album Review Homepage
Go to reviews home
Reviews - Latest