There’s a slight irony in the title of The Minutes’ second album. While they’ve lived well in the three years since Marcata, they’ve not exactly changed a huge amount. Still a trio, still cranking it up to 11 and still pretty damn exciting, producer Ggarth Richardson may have smoothed off a few of the rough edges but the band still kick like a mule.
It doesn’t take long for ‘Hold Your Hand’ to set the tone. If Richardson has done anything it’s make the band sound even bigger than before, whilst keeping their definition as a three piece. At no point do you fear that they’ll struggle to replicate the record on stage, as riff after riff pours out over the frantic drumming of Shane Kinsella. It’s straight out of the book of rock ‘n’ roll but it certainly works.
Not that it’s heads down, no nonsense all the way. There are glimpses of development to be found scattered throught. Single ‘Cherry Bomb’ has a glam stomp to it and the record’s final third does see The Minutes start to stretch themselves. ‘Outlaws’ drops the pace into an almost pop groove while ‘Lo And Behold’ introduces a lone cello to enhance the mournful, acoustic feel. It’s superb and a clear pointer that there’s more to the band than meets the eye. Mind you, they’re on such a roll that they even take a song with as uninspiring a title as ‘1,2,3,4’ and make it one of the best tracks on the album.
Combining the familiar with a nod to the future and an unerring sense of self-belief, Live Well, Change Often is the perfect move for The Minutes. Progressing them nicely, it’ll lead to bigger shows, more exposure and a wider audience. Then we’ll see what they’re really made of.