Mint Field have crafted a fine EP of shoegaze and folk songs that work, even without shiny production.
Of all the reasons that I enjoy writing for Everything Is Noise, the thrill of discovering and sharing music is perhaps the chief joy. Last year, I was rummaging through Bandcamp as I often do, and came across an album that immediately struck me as something special. After sharing it with the rest of the staff at the site, it found its way on to our Top 50 Albums of 2018. This Tijuana duo’s self-titled debut is a diverse and expansive foray into shoegaze and dream pop with hypnotic rhythms and haunting vocals. Mientras Esperas is a follow-up EP that delivers what one would expect from this pair and showcases new hues to the spectrum of what this band can offer.
One of the things that I love about this style of music, and the way that Mint Field perform it, is the dense layering of sounds. When “Ella Se Queda” begins, it seems very simple and familiar, but once the track hits its stride, the atmosphere is surprisingly thick. As always, the vocal contrast to the crunchy guitars and relentless rhythm is palpable, and this pushes the dreamy aspects of their sound to the foreground. The bass work on this EP is also noteworthy, especially on the songs that breathe a bit more, such as “Jardin de la Paz.” It darts too and fro and keeps even the slower songs active and interesting.
Of all of the styles that Mint Field draw from, one most often in the background, yet ever-present, is folk. This becomes apparent on “Vamos Rapido” where the instrumentation, effects, and atmosphere are scaled back, allowing the finger-picked guitar and vocals to occupy the spotlight. This dark and ambient track is one of my favorite on Mientras Esperas. Its haunting melody and vocals not only help with the pacing of the EP overall, but demonstrates how apt this band is at everything they do. Much like their LP from last year, this is a diverse set of songs which all work together to create a mood that’s surprisingly consistent. To me, this is an earmark of a great record.
The roughly 25 minutes of this EP are incredibly engrossing. It was recorded in just two days, which explains the energy present on each song. Also, the production isn’t as smooth as one would expect for a shoegaze album, and this is another reason for me to love it. Even with less time in the studio and less polish after the fact, what they do still comes through and doesn’t rely on anything but pure talent. “Eclipse Solar” is a prime example of this. The song is at times dissonant and grungy, yet still manages to feel well within this band’s wheelhouse.
After being one of my favorite discoveries last year, this band re-emerges in 2019 with another strong release that solidifies them as one of the premier acts in this space. The homespun feel of Mientras Esperas makes the album and the band more endearing to me by showcasing their talent and endless appeal. If you missed them the first time around, this EP is a fantastic introduction to Mint Field, and will no doubt please fans of their debut as well. This is a recommendation easily made; buy this now.