Minor Victories is a new group, perhaps even a supergroup: it comprises members of Editors, Slowdive and Mogwai. Although the original intention was all-out noise, what seems to have arisen is an album of dramatic, vocal-led songcraft. This self-titled debut album is out on Play It Again Sam: white vinyl only available from indie stores!
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 26 May 2016
Minor Victories are the absolute perfect band for today’s older Twitter generation. Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai/ 24.4K Twitter followers) , Rachel Goswell (Slowdive/ 9.7k Twitter followers, Justin Lockey (Editors/ 3.1K Twitter followers) and Justin’s brother James (can’t find him on Twitter). That’s an awful lot of re-tweets. Add Tim Burgess to this line up and Twitter will explode.
Probably the best thing about Minor Victories is that they just sound like a band. They don’t sound like Mogwai meets Slowdive meets Editors, instead they produce a form of big stadium aiming music that leans heavily on an overworked string section. The opening one/two of ‘Give Up the Ghost’ and ‘A Hundred Ropes’ are examples of polished pop music done very well indeed, Goswell’s vocals lead the way, whispery, high pitched not floaty and ethereal. Braithwaite meanwhile plays understated if rackety guitar and the drums are krauty and understated. No showing off allowed.
Minor Victories do however showcase what might have happened if post rock had ever gone truly stadium, This is a massive sound - almost the Verve-like on ‘Breaking My Light’ - it’s a highly realised, scrubbed record with several anthemic songs such as ‘Scattered Ashes’ which features the Twilight Sad guy on second voice and an infectious chorus that quite literally explodes out of the speakers.
The album is not not without the odd more subtle moment though, ‘Out to Sea’ in particular is a gorgeous sugar rush of textures, Sigur Ros style cavernous bursts of foggy orchestral sounds combining to give the nodding post rock heads something to wallow in.
There’s a strange moment later on when a male voice takes over on ‘For You Always' and you suddenly realise it’s Mark Kozelek (look forward to details of the recording session on the next Sun Kil Moon record) , here he details his ongoing love for Rachel Goswell who then whispers back to him, her voice is high and ethereal so its hard to work out if she actually is singing "piss off you ageing creep" or not. It’s horrible (as is most stuff Kozelek puts his name to these days) but it's a minor diversion on a solid record that will allow pretty much any human with ears to find something to enjoy.
9/10 Nick Customer review, 17th June 2016
“Well, for a start, Rachel Goswell has seldom put a foot wrong in anything she's done. That's what bought me on board in the first place, and should be enough to encourage people to give this a listen. The back-history of Mogwai and Editors should also be a good reference. And then it turns out that the sum is far bigger than these individual parts. This gels, like they've been playing in a garage for years, building up their teamwork and interplay. I gather they only met for the first time when they had a session on Lauren Laverne's 6Music show - having recorded everything remotely. I really want to see them live, and hope there's more like this.”
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