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Album Review

Well, it's not new age. This alternative rock relic was actually the first full-length release from Vancouver's Mint, way back in 1991. It's raggedy and spazzy, deliberate and self-conscious — the six-plus minute opener, "Bury Me Alive," builds up such a head of steam that the band can't seem to figure out how to wrap it up. The same goes for the Soft Cell cover "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye," which has a great chord progression, but little to say beyond its title. You get the impression that the band is just happy it sounds so good. In this way, Windwalker suggests early Buffalo Tom, another combo of the era that mixed hard-charging rockers with electrified country heartbreak. Windwalker has the power chords and nervous energy to spare, but it can only focus for a few minutes or measures at a time. Standouts include "Insight" and "Moving in Circles," which best harness this anxious, falling-forward sound. Sure, the singer sometimes sounds like he's screaming because there's nothing else to say. And the drums often threaten to outpace the guitars. But if you miss the halcyon days when Walt Mink, Mudhoney, and old Replacements records ruled cassette decks, then Rainstick just might be worth a shake. Besides, its catalog number is MRD-001, so you can say you were there when.

Rainstick, Windwalker
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