The post-rock supergroup, say that quietly, finally crash to earth with their long anticipated debut. Comprising of equal parts Slowdive, Mogwai, and Editors, Minor Victories is the culmination of twelve months of gigging, juggling schedules, and recording in fits and bursts – often not even in the same room. The question on everyone’s lips, is it worth the wait?
It's a middling yes and no. From the menacing Gothic growl of album opener ‘Give Up The Ghost’, sounding like the slowed down bastard child of Joy Division and Depeche Mode, their hat is thrown into the ring and they mean business. The album has had a long journey with several tracks previously been teased with the anthemic and fuzz-laden ‘Hundred Ropes’ and ‘Scattered Ashes (Song For Richard)’ (featuring Twilight Sad frontman James Graham) fitting perfectly with the albums style and vibe. Other highlights include ‘Cogs’ which sounds like a track from the Hardcore Will Never Die... sessions; rejected for being too poppy, and ‘For You Always’ which sees Goswell step out of vocal comfort zone to duet with Mark Kozelek of - half singing and half drunken slurring their way through a love affair built on loss and international travel. All backed by the insistent rhythm of two note xylophone riff punctuating the delay laden thumping drum work.
Which leads us back to the original question; has it been worth the wait? The answer? There is no denying that it is a quality album full of the shoegazing, cinematic soundscape you’d expect from the members of the respective groups. As Stuart Braithwaite was quoted during the recording process, “To be honest, I think if you know the music that all of us have made, it won’t really surprise you. It has a lot of the good elements from everyone’s bands”, it defiantly mashes together the best elements of their day jobs but cast it in a new poppier light. This is also a part of its downfall, to quote the linear notes, “We didn’t record in the same room, or at the same time. To be honest we probably didn’t start off with the same vision.”. The letdown is wondering, what if they could have been in the same room for the whole process, how much better could it have been? Hopefully, time will give us this opportunity to build on this promising debut.