Minks' Idle-Rich Escapism
Like other music critics, Derek Staples had noted that Mink's main man Sonny Kilfoyle embarked on a new direction with Tides End (2013), the follow-up to his debut LP By the Hedge (2011), with the latter being noted for its indie pop, shoegaze and post-punk influences, and "long, languid melodic lines over gaps of quiet space" (Pitchfork, 2011):
"Suffering from a severe case of writer’s block before recording the LP’s 10 tracks, the Brooklyn-based Kilfoyle followed in the paths of luminaries like Warhol, Pollock, de Kooning, and Steinbeck, and relocated to the East End of Long Island. As the story goes: there, in the shadows of a decrepit beach front estate, Kilfoyle was concurrently struck with the notions of decadence and decay" (Consequence of Sound, 2013).
These dual themes are most explicitly explored in 'Playboys of the Western World'. The title might have been directly inspired by The Playboy of the Western World, a three-act play written by Irish playwright John Millington SyngeHere that was first performed in 1907. Kilfoyle skillfully evokes the existence of a leisurely, privileged class (if it helps, you can recall the clips of young adults swimming, riding motorbikes and generally chilling and enjoying life in Lana Del Rey's Video Games music video), amidst a sonic palette influenced by retro-synth pop: 'Young aggression/ Marching on the cobblestone/ The new artistic high class/ Never had the feeling that they belonged ... You can fight for what you want and have it all'. The dreamy lyrics meld with the brooding bass to create that all-encompassing sense of relaxed, laid-back anticipation of future promises and possibilities.
This ambience of electro-decadence continues in the up-tempo 'Margot', a love track expressing adoration for Margot, a classy, stylish and elusive socialite (the music video features a tall, individualistic young blonde woman (Kilfoyle's wife Danielle) demonstrating all the independence and mobility she can take for granted by driving a vintage car, riding a horse, cycling, and jumping into a private swimming pool):
'Margot, where have your horses run?It seems it's been a while/ It seems that there's a styleto the things you sayIt's true that you loved me/ and left me like a foolYou're always on my mind/ You're always on my mind'.
Art Ivan observes that 'Margot' employs "perfectly timed, expertly aligned layers of percussion, synth, and guitars to build an emotional rush of a retro-summer pop song, like a strange Oingo Boingo/Echo & the Bunnymen hybrid, even as it reveals itself to be a thoroughly melancholic, serenading lament in remembrance of love and loss: “Your blue eyes/ Have me dreaming of the West Coast/ Just like Hollywood/ I’ll never sleep tonight" (TinyMixTapes, 2013).
As Time Out reviewer Danielle Goldstein satirically observes, Kilfyole is so successful at evoking the 'laid-back atmosphere' that "he’s practically horizontal: you can picture his eyelids drooping as he languidly creates what would be an ideal West Coast soundtrack to a hazy weekend at the beach". 'Everything's Fine' best epitomizes this chill, dreamy, escapist atmosphere, where you take a backseat from all the hustle, bustle and routines of everyday life, to bask in the confines of your own inner world:
'Step out, honey, the future's in bloomUnknown colors are all around meWe're spinning records up here in my roomThe little pleasures, I feel I'm fallingEverything's fine in my mind when I'm far awayEverything's cool when you break all the rulesSummer's over, she's leaving with youThe neon boardwalks were made for walkingYou swim in blue jeans and tell the truthThe lonely future's still there, calling, calling...'