Two years removed from debut LP By the Hedge, Minks frontman/songwriter Sonny Kilfoyle has discovered a more direct route to share his distant new wave echoes. Structure was an afterthought on this original sonic collage. Tracks like “Out Of Tune” and “Our Ritual” spiral into folksy, distorted ambiance, with Kilfoyle’s woeful vocals the sole anchor before plummeting through enchanting dreamwave. Aided by acclaimed techno producer Mark Verbos, Kilfoyle’s former innocuous wall of sound has been reformatted into polished, synth-driven narratives on Tides End.
Suffering from a severe case of writer’s block before recording the LP’s 10 tracks, the Brooklyn-based Kilfoyle followed in the paths of luminaries like Warhol, Pollock, de Kooning, and Steinbeck, and relocated to the East End of Long Island. As the story goes: there, in the shadows of a decrepit beach front estate, Kilfoyle was concurrently struck with the notions of decadence and decay. Electro decadence exudes across the album’s first third — with the intro of “Romans” and brooding bounce of “Margot” seemingly pulled from the dustiest of, say, 1980’s made-for-television movies. Perched between the two tracks is the sullen instrumental crests of “Everything’s Fine”. An ode to escapism, Kilfoyle’s lyrics reverberate across generations of youth: “The lonely future, still that calling/ Everything’s cool/ when you break all of the rules.”
The latter half of the album showcases better balance between guitar haze and the album’s prevailing electronics. With the excessive pop elements removed, an intense vocal sincerity washes to the surface. The lovelorn verses of “Hold Me Know” may be the most viscerally wrenching, but a short quip within “Painted Indian” powerfully states the tragedy of overindulgence: “Like a Kennedy, you’re gone before your time.”
A portion of Tides End listens like a dramatic over-correction into the electro-pop realm. However, by album’s end, Kilfoyle and Verbos find the intersection between vocal melancholy and production excess.
Essential Tracks: “Everything’s Fine” and “Hold Me Know”