All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

ALBUM REVIEW: "Get There" by Minor Alps

Barsuk Records
Juliana Hatfield and Nada Surf's Matthew Caws are Minor Alps and their debut album is "Get There."
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

ALBUM REVIEW: Minor Alps – Get There (Barsuk) 2013

Within the past year or so both Juliana Hatfield and Nada Surf - both veterans of 90’s-era alt-rock and both still touring and recording – have released very good albums of new material. (Reviews here and here).

So, when we learned that Hatfield and Nada Surf frontman Matthew Caws were collaborating (think Danger Mouse and The Shins’ James Mercer as Broken Bells or Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward of She & Him), I knew it had to be interesting, at the very least.

And with Caws and Hatfield performing all the instruments (save for some drumming by Brooklyn drummer Parker Kindred, who worked with Antony and The Johnsons, Jeff Buckley and others, along with Chris Egan, another drummer.), there is a somewhat spare and stripped-down feeling to the instrumentation. And that approach actually works in this case.

Starting off with the dreamy and vaguely melancholy “Buried Plans,” Caws and Hatfield harmonize as if their lives depended on it. And that’s something that stood out over the course of this 11-track album – they sing together over the course of the disc.

A real standout is “Far From the Roses” with its bittersweet vibe, notable guitar line and oddly-appealing accessibility.

When I hear “If I Wanted Trouble,” I imagine Ben Gibbard, either in Death Cab for Cutie or The Postal Service, embracing this song

“I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands” has an aggressive edge that doesn’t quite stick with you as much as you’d like.

But a slower, folk-rocky ballad like “Wish You Were Upstairs” takes the best of both artists and solidifies the idea of why it works so well to begin with.

“Mixed Feelings” kicks of side two by offering up a punchy, pop-punk sound that mid-90’s, female-led alt-rock bands embraced at that time (think Veruca Salt, for instance) and it works here.

Synth sounds provide some beats here, as on “Away Again,” where Hatfield takes the lead vocal.

The overall mood of Minor Alps’ first outing is somewhat downbeat and yet wistful. Two rockers who really hit their stride during the Clinton years are now in middle age and I think the subject matter here (relationships won and lost, self-reflection, “mixed feelings) is mirroring that. Younger rock music fans may not find a lot here, but maybe they will. For me, who is close to the age of Hatfield and Caws, can appreciate the words and music and mood they have to offer us.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: And to read about my recent Juliana Hatfield-related dream, go here). 

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd
Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK