In partnership with the Initiative Musik/Neustart Kultur, in 2020, Kenneth Minor entered the studio developing the freshly pressed LP they have titled “Retirement”. To be released on vinyl & CD in the summer of 2022 by Unique Records/ The Orchard.
Kenneth Minor must be playing to their humor when they talk of “Retirement”. As a collection, “Retirement” reveals Kenneth Minor’s dynamic range. The 12 tracks pull directly from the band’s deep reservoir of influences for the thrill of the ride.
The new album features twangy guitar riffs, pop refrains, entertaining guitar solos wrapped in soundscapes, distorted picking, snotty banging with a honky-tonk piano or some kind of blues-punk attitude with a wink.
There are also swampy-mystical, hypnotic songs dipped in buckets of psychedelic paint. Songs with supporting cello lines and the use of a flugelhorn, which, after pleasant melodies, might just as well end in a completely surprising noise inferno of an evil fuzz guitar dueling with an atonally beautiful saxophone. Mystical tremolo guitar alternating with a punk-like chorus and dizzying drum rolls. Or clapping along for two minutes to an ascetically designed “mini anthem”.
In addition, there are songs whose narrative thread is clearly in the foreground and the extent of the musical accompaniment varies in each case. From a light-footed, strumming guitar accompaniment placed in a warm mellotron bed, to picturesque bass lines paired with dreamy guitar picking and Caribbean-like Beguine rhythms to a certain microcosmic majesty.
Anyone looking for lyrical triviality will not find it. Personal stories are told in a humorous, profound but also serious way, text and music deliberately run counter to each other or harmoniously hand in hand. Optimistic melancholy hovers over the music. Similar to the music, there is also a certain variety of topics such as the volatility of interpersonal relationships, the impartiality of the childhood perspective, criticism of capitalism, death and farewell, but also the beautiful moments in life.
There’s an organic feel to the whole record and just like they did it holed up in the same room for days, it’s not their musicianship alone which keeps them producing with refined, famliar clarity. Doubling down on the family in-house vibe, on “Retirement”, Kenneth Minor drummer Florian Helleken takes on the production role. Recorded in its entirety in his Hersbruck Hersbrooklyn Recordings Studios.
“Retirement” was mixed by Hannes Plattmeier at Ashfield Street Studios, London and finally mastered by Hans Wagner, SolidArt Mastering, Vienna.
Photos: (c) Joyce Abrahams
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