Mint is a band from Viejo, California who formed around a year ago. The members who include Tyler (guitar/vocals), Hayden (guitar/vocals), Chris (bass), Armon (drums) and Jacob (tambourine) play rock music that tends to have a heavy surf rock influence. They aren’t the first and certainly not the last band to be influenced by the genre that had its beginnings back in the early ‘60s. You can hear elements of ‘60s surf acts like Dick Dale and The Chantays to indie rock demi gods The Pixies who melded garage rock and some consider was the catalyst for grunge.
Their first release Vintage Bad Stuff sounds like a live demo rather than something you would expect to be the finished product from a reputable studio. It has a very raw sound and hopefully they will get something more polished in the future but it still serves as a decent introduction to the band.
As with most bands this young in their career they seem to still be developing and working on their own sound. After giving Vintage Bad Stuff a listen several times I was impressed by some of the songs but there wasn’t much there that truly defined their band at this point. Their X-factor isn’t there yet but that doesn’t mean the experience wasn’t enjoyable.
The album starts off with “Lynwood” which touts a basic V-I chord progression from the rhythm guitar while the lead builds off scales one would use in surf rock. It’s a catchy yet basic song with sparse vocals that seemed to be an afterthought compared to the music.
The next track is surf rock ‘60s style 101 from the riffs to the drum beat while “Fairbanks City Transit” is a solid song with vocals that were buried in the mix. The highlight was “Common Curse” which I thought was the most original sounding track on the album. You can hear elements of Broken Social Scene on this track, which makes sense when you think about some of their relation to surf rock.
The closing track was “Tom’s Place” which was a nine-minute song and also happens to be the heaviest the band gets. I have to admit the song is odd in that there is three minutes of silence in the middle for no good reason I could think of. Maybe this was supposed to be a bonus section like at the end of Kid A but at least they were thinking out of the box.
One word of advice on their next recording is to boost the vocals or EQ them differently because I couldn't make out most of the lyrics. Other than that I enjoyed the vibe but the band falls into a category of wait and see.
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