VG+ by Mint Mind
VG+ by Mint Mind
Mint Mind’s music has been aptly described as “Heavy music for nerdy people.” The band’s sound is a blend of influences both from and for a diverse range of listeners. After immersing yourself in their “VG+” songs, you’ll get a vivid glimpse into the Mint Mind universe – a space where instruments and amplifiers spanning several decades are casually arranged alongside synthesizers and effects, some as sizeable as microwave ovens. Their crooked record shelf holds treasures like comics, albums by artists such as New Order, Devo, the B52s, and a substantial chunk of the SST catalog, along with Krautrock classics by Can and Faust. “VG+,” Mint Mind’s third album, stands as a remarkable cross-generational indie rock offering.
The creation of “VG+” took place in the Upper Room Studio, a distinct section within Rick McPhail’s modest industrial loft in Hamburg-Altona. Rick, hailing from Maine, USA, shares a glance with his fellow musicians, who are slightly younger. Christian Klindworth (Fluppe) is 40, and Friedel Viegener is 22. Rick humorously remarks, “I’m generally a polite and cheerful person, but I use my music to vent about the things that irk me. It turns out; I often get annoyed about the same issues as younger people. Many of the challenges that vex us today were just as vexing in the ’80s, and the battle was no easier back then.”
The album is an emotional journey encompassing anger, optimism, political figures with diminutive fingers, and influencers leading seemingly ordinary lives. The lyrics range from humorous to profound, with tracks like “Glow” exploring love and cherishing moments in tough times, while “Youth And I” delves into the enigma of why different generations sharing similar beliefs on topics like the environment, women’s and LGBTQIA+ rights, and the economy struggle to unite, often allowing trivial factors like age to disrupt their common goals.
Mint Mind’s sound blends sweet and gritty fuzzy riffs with the freedom and sentiment of ’80s post-punk and indie. This time, synthesizers take on a more prominent role, weaving a tapestry of playful and peculiar sounds, as well as eerie and dark textures that offer a delightful auditory experience.
The choice of the album title, “VG+,” draws from the Goldmine Grading Standard used for evaluating used vinyl records and signifies “Very Good +,” implying that occasional background noise might be present but not pervasive.
For older listeners, Mint Mind might evoke reminiscences of Dinosaur Jr. or The Cure, while younger ones might find echoes of Diiv, Wavves, or Gurr. For a brief moment, as you immerse yourself in Mint Mind’s music, the world turns “Very Good +,” complete with its occasional background noise, creating a captivating experience for everyone.
Speaking of background noise, when Rick isn’t strumming his self-made Lego guitar with Mint Mind, he takes up the lead guitar role in the Hamburg band Tocotronic or indulges in spinning records. At the local bar, Mutter, he hosts Album/Adult Oriented Rock sessions under the slogan “AOR-Alles Klar?” Armed with a converted telephone receiver as a microphone, he moderates the songs and allows guests to request their favorites. As dawn breaks over Hamburg, Rick packs up his Billy Joel, Chicago, and Steely Dan albums, hops on his skateboard, and rides back to his studio, the rising sun at his back.