A bunch of Okies from Muskogee, the Starlight Mints deal in slightly off-kilter, string-embellished indie-pop.
lineup: Andy Nunez (guitars, keyboards, vocals); Marian Love Nunez (keyboards, vocals); Allan Vest (vocals, guitars); with other assorted people.
review index: The Dream That Stuff Was Made Of / Built On Squares
missing albums: none
Best songs: Sir Prize, Sugar Blaster, Margarita, Valerie Flames
Worst songs: none
Make no mistake; despite what the All-Music Guide tells you, this group doesn't have much in common with fellow Oklahomans the Flaming Lips. The Smints deal in straightforward indie-pop -- or at least as straightforward as you can manage with indie-pop. Anyway, the important thing is the songs are all really damn catchy, but, and this is the brilliant part, they're all distinctive. None of that annoying homogenous globbing together that you tend to get with many of your guitar-pop groups.
The songs? "Valerie Flames" is sort of an anthemic rock song, at least if you twisted it around a bit, and "Margarita" is dissonant-Latin fun. The opener "Submarine #3" probably is the most string-laden of the tracks, and "Sugar Blaster" just keeps getting better every second. And "Cracker Jack" is tremolo-guitar-driven minor-key spookiness. Oh, I could go on, but you can discover the other five or so tracks yourself. The only one on here I'm not really fond of is the closer "Pulling Out My Hair", but other than that it's a heck of a 35-minute ride.
Best songs: Black Cat, Rinky Dinky, Jimmy Cricket
Worst songs: eh, not really
Did you like the last album? Yes, you did. And thus you will like this album. It's pretty much the same thing, except with crisper, fuller production. Yep, that's pretty much it. It's still often goofy ("Jack in the Squares"), sometimes lonesome ("Zillion Eyes"), but always catchy ("Rinky Dinky") and left-of-center ("Black Cat"). That's all I got to say about this record. Buy it and the Starlight Mints will be your friends*.
*no guarantees expressed or implied.
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