Throwing Pig’s Blood on the Mink Lungs

Mink LungsDisclaimer: If you’re one of the people who’s happily marching in the Mink Lungs hype parade, more power to you, have fun and all. I don’t want to be the guy pissing on your head, but this article makes no pretense to be anything other than me saying I could care less.

So Tuesday night I went to see Quasar Wut Wut open for the Mink Lungs at Schubas, in part because I have been going to see the Quasars for about eight years. But I was also lured to the show by hype like this:

I’ll Take It (Arena Rock Recordings), the second full-length from Brooklyn’s Mink Lungs, has no filler. None. Even the best albums I hear usually surround a few great tracks with a bunch of pretty good ones. But every song on this album—and there are 17 of ’em—needs to be here. The Lungs are as much a font of restless invention as, say, Talking Heads ever were, with a “fuck form, function is fun” willingness to jostle, swerve, jump, hump, or whisper, plus so much heart they’re never merely irritating or “challenging” for the sake of being challenging. They get compared to the Pixies a lot. I wish I liked the Pixies this much. —Monica Kendrick, Chicago Reader

Comparisons to Guided By Voices and the Flaming Lips crop up in other reviews. And the band’s Web site says Details magazine has called I’ll Take It the best album by a New York band since the Talking Heads’ Remain in Light.

Of course the show failed to live up to this billing. But what could, short of reanimating Kurt Cobain for a Nirvana reunion (with Elvis driving in from Kalamazoo as the opener)? I watched about half of the Lungs’ set and headed back out to the bar for a beer and some conversation. (Hey, at least I didn’t just stand around talking over their playing—like most of the people there did during the opening acts.)

It’s not that the Lungs were bad. They’ve got great guitar tones and that winsome personality thing going for them. But I was bored by their happy, unabashedly middle-of-the-road indie sound. I’m kind of over the whole postmodern, self-conscious hipster power pop thing. Then again, I was never into it to begin with.

9 thoughts on “Throwing Pig’s Blood on the Mink Lungs”

  1. Really!? Jesus, Sab, you’re a tough guy to please… I thought that show kicked so much ass I was gonna die. I was planning on taking off after a couple tracks, but the unrelenting barrage of songs and sounds, that uberkinetic guitar player, and just the straight up rock and roll had me and I couldn’t tear myself away.

    I piked up their first album, “The Better Button” at the show, and I expect I’ll get the new one sometime soon.

  2. I saw them last year at Schubas and wanted to walk out of there screaming. Not with excitement but more like” get me the fuck out of here”. Oh wait. I did do that.

    They did nothing for me and I walked out on them then. And I just couldn’t feel the desire to get excited about their obvious improvisational skills back then. I haven’t heard them since. And now that I too have heard these GBV comparisons I find myself scratching my head going ” am I missing something?” I mean did they really change that much in a year?

    Ok colour me confused..

  3. I didn’t make it to the show but I did pick up a copy of I’ll Take It. After a couple listens I have to say I think they are pretty cool. I can hear the comparisons to the Heads and the Pixies and their sound reminds me a little of Mercury Rev from back in the day. Not the more recent, mellower stuff.

    I have to agree that I do not hear GBV either. But they sound like they would be a fun band to see live. Pairing them up with Quasar Wut Wut was probably a good call.

  4. I wish I could have gone to that show. I’ve seen Mink Lungs live twice now and really them. I’m not too crazy about “The Better Button” but I’d like to hear the new cd. Definitely don’t see the GBV or Talking Heads references. And one of these days, I’ve gotta see Quasar Wut Wut.

  5. i dig the mink lungs hard-core. i had no idea there was a “hype parade” either, but i guess i’m it it. mink lungs are swell and they make good music and chicago “music critics” are notoriously pooh-pooh about anything even remotely not familiar.

  6. mink lungs did nothing for me either. saw them on a bill with stellastarr. now THAT is a fucking band. im leading the hype parade full throttle on that one. apollo sunshine was great fun too. look for them soon, out on spinART soon me hears… stellastarr on RCA.

    and it has nothing to be with being from chicago. i “pooh-pooh” it because its average, just “ok,” nothing special. in fact i was downright bored.

  7. I hear you on the boredom, minerva. At first I wasn’t even going to write anything about this show. But then I thought, “What if the local rock writers in all the other cities they play in continue to say things like they’re better than the Pixies?” Someone has to stand up and say the emperor’s pants don’t quite match the shirt.

  8. Jeff Sabatini: I think what you meant to say in your disclaimer is that you “couldn’t care less,” not that you could care less. The latter would mean, of course, that you do care to some degree, while the former would suggest that you don’t care at all.

    Just a pet peeve.

  9. Actually, I meant what I said. Because I do care to a certain extent. I cared enough to go to the show–and to pay for it–and write the article. And I truly want to find a band that makes the Pixies look second-rate. The Mink Lungs, while far from awful nor deserving to be written off completely, just aren’t that band.

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