Minotaur Shock - Maritime
UK Release Date:

13 June 2005

Track Listing:

1. Muesli
2. (She's In) Dry Dock Now
3. Vigo Bay
4. Six Foolish Fisherman
5. Hilly
6. Twosley
7. Somebody Once Told Me It Existed But They Never Found It
8. Luck Shield
9. Mistaken Tourist
10. The Broads
11. Four Magpies

Minotaur Shock - Maritime (4AD)
•• Published: SoundsXP, September 2005
Original article: http://www.soundsxp.com/2312.shtml

Minotaur Shock's debut 'Chiff Chaffs and Willow Warblers' was proclaimed as being a part of the much-hyped folktronica explosion. Now for his second long player, David Edwards has shrugged off the weight of any contrived media pigeon-holing to join the leftfield loving 4AD and present us with an album loosely held together by the theme of the sea. You may expect an album of sea shanties, hornpipes and fisherman's folk songs and, in some ways, that’s just what 'Maritime' is, in its own skewed, contrary way.

Opener 'Muesli' certainly has a touch of hornpipe to it, then picks up an element of cartoon bass before a huge burst of accordion lifts us back on deck. 'Twosley' (geddit?) later picks up the same melody but adds layers of violin to create a more sedate and calming atmosphere. There are echoes of Four Tet at times, but minus the often annoying glitches Kieran Hebden seems to love so much, while the jolly electronic quirkiness recalls µ-Ziq.

But, Edwards always opts for good tunes over any fancy technical jiggery pokery and is more intent on warming hearts than wowing geeks. 'Luck Shield' is like a laid-back retake of New Order's 'Perfect Kiss', but ebbs and flows into a hazy bliss of oriental percussion, humming cello and subtle vocal "Aaahs" while 'Mistaken Tourist' sees acoustic guitar joined by Bontempi beats and over-the-top, eighties keyboard flamboyance.

The music has a light-hearted silliness that renders it absolutely pretension free, just hear the romp-away toot of 'Vigo Bay' or the so cheesy yet stupidly enjoyable bounce of 'Six Foolish Fishermen'. That is not to say this is music without substance, it has depth. Melancholy and sadness sit alongside grinning optimism, but Minotaur Shock seems to be creating precisely the sound he wants to without a thought for trends, fashion or any other shallow distraction and for that he must be congratulated.

Twee yet affecting instru-mentalism with a carefree British sense of humour, 'Maritime' is the sound of smiling and if you've never heard that before, get this album.

- Ian Roullier

Copyright © Ian Roullier 2004-2014