Blackwater Holylight is an all-woman four-piece led by Alison Faris, previously of the now defunct …
They mashed cool baby blue buttercream with boiling pink bubble gum, and the result is a spinning, sparkling delight. Minden’s newest album Sweet, Simple Things, proves that not only do they want the “Real Sugar,” they also deliver it. The followup LP to their 2012 debut, Exotic Cakes, is a pack of dance grooves that serves as clear evidence of (a few more) dedicated years spent refining the sounds that can be only be described as delightful “Mindenness.”
The core of the corps remains frontman Casey Burge, with his microphone-tickling moustache and smooth falsetto. Co-front vocalist Lia Lavendar Gist exudes a growing confidence in her abilities and makes for a joyful balance. The ensemble of buds is rounded out with James “Candy Sweets” Taylor, Evan Houston and Alexander Thomas. Additional contributions to the album come from local stalwarts Papi Fimbres, Ryan Johnson and Daniel Talmadge, who all have lengthy ties to the band, but have stated that any live performances will be with their (numerous) other projects.
The sexiness built into all nine tracks of Sweet, Simple Things is palpable, thanks not only to the lyrical wit of Burge, but also the intermingling of the swirling, catchy rhythms. If there were any lapses in production value or lessons to be learned in their previous studio visits, Minden took care of business for this one. Producer Jeremy Sherrer catalyzed a robust, full-sounding result, especially on standout cuts “Love is Bad” and “Sheila.” It’s an entirely successful LP, and while the recording will undoubtedly stand the test of time, the real magic of Minden is in their live performance. Get yourself a taste, every chance you get.»
– Richard Lime
EDITOR’S NOTE: This album was selected as one of our 11 favorite Portland albums of 2016. Jump to the other year-end selections below.