Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2019 January 07 • Monday

The 551st Soundtrack of the Week, our first in 2019, is the groovy music by pop band The Cyrkle for the X-rated feature The Minx.

It's on groovy pink vinyl!

First up is a song called "Squeeze Play" which is catchy and toe-tapping and has nice vocal harmonies. This is sort of in the Buffalo Springfield or Byrds zone, I guess, though there's an interesting quality to some of the vocal blends, something about the sonority that's unusual.

Bossa nova influences and wordless vocals define the title track, which is very much easy listening pop jazz of a sort that I often can't stand but is actually okay here.

"Murray the Why" is mostly a Beach Boys pastiche and a good song. Is Murray supposed to be Murray Wilson? That seems unlikely but it's an interesting coincidence if not.

"The Rigging" is an instrumental structurally like "Wipe Out" but with a few weird flourishes from either a mysterious instrument or a sped-up recording of a not so weird instrument".

Guitar-driven instrumental surf music is the foundation for "The Party", which is in 6/8 and will sound like a lot of tunes you've heard before, particularly songs like "Surfer Girl". There's a smooth wordless vocal chorus crooning gently behind the instruments.

After this comes "Nicole" and some sitar and more psychedelic rock touches in the guitar and vocals. It's droney and trippy and the panning of the drums gives it a stereo spaciousness that's cool to experience. At the end it builds in speed and intensity.

"Something Special", the first of a few bonus cuts on this particular LP, is a piano-driven and buoyant pop instrumental with jangly electric and a few unexpected tempo and rhythm alterations with horn parts along the lines of the horns in "All You Need Is Love".

This side of the record closes with the second bonus cut, "Terry's Theme", another bonus cut and a bossa nova tune, fairly generic but well done and enjoyable to listen to.

The second side opens with the love song "It's a Lovely Game, Louise", which is a nice but fairly standard lounge ballad.

This is followed by a peppy instrumental version of the title song with the melody played on a horn that has an irritatingly bright and showy tone.

"Then there's a version of "Something Special" with lyrics, and it's an improvement over the instrumental. It's a nice song and works better has a straight rock/pop number with vocals and a story to tell.

"On the Road" is a really great instrumental piece in 5/4 with the electric guitar having a sitar-like tone.

After this comes "Walter's Riff", an instrumental in the style of Duane Eddy, with some deep tremolo on the guitar and a shuffle feel from the rhythm section and even the occasional cowboy whoop and holler.

Snare drum and timpani open "The Chase" and while you might be expecting a military march, piano and hand percussion come in and steer the cue into a groovier direction. The snare and timpani stick around but an organ comes in also, then distorted electric guitar. It's an agreeably crazy mixture!

The last two cuts are also bonus tracks. "Baxter's Dangerous Game" starts with just bongos. After a surprisingly long time, the rest of the band comes in, guitar, bass, organ, other percussion. What they play ranges from almost prog-like lines to almost "classical" dramatic underscore.

And then finally there's "Kites", with some lovely acoustic guitar and flute playing and a feel that recalls both Spanish and Japanese music. About halfway through it switches gears to a more psychedelic rock thing and then almost immediately switches again to a lyrical and melancholy musical atmosphere. It switches back and forth like that a few times, really cool piece.