Album Review: The One Eighties – Minefields

The One EightiesMinefields contains elements of folk songwriting, contemporary genre-bending production, and endearing harmonies. The sound is one that is sure to find a following among fans of unconventional contemporary music with its roots in classic pop-influenced music.

The opening “Two Jet Planes” has a nice mix of genres. The lead vocal is good, but the harmonies are exceptional. The production sets a mood that feels a bit like classic mid-20th century pop country music (complete with an orchestra), while there are other pockets that feel much more calm and intimate.

The title track “Minefields” has a unique energy to it. The piano in the opening feels timeless, yet the production creates a haunting feeling around the vocals. The “take my hand and we’ll descend,” lyric feels like a sweet invitation, yet there’s a darkness to the recording that feels both thrilling and chilling. It’s really something to behold; the contraposition of the dark energy with the brightness of the steel guitar is fantastic.

“Nightmare, Baby” has a mix of folksy energy in some places with what feels like 80s rock. It’s definitely unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. “Fools Gold” follows with an almost Stevie Nicks-like vocal style and chilled out rock in the vein of Fleetwood Mac. In some ways, I think this is the style that suits the band the best. I’d like to hear more in this chill, emotional space.

The theatrical song, “Hold Back the Tide,” feels like it could be from a film or TV soundtrack. The dynamic piano and atmospheric effect on the lead vocal makes for a captivating composition style. It’s got a romantic energy to it. Fans of romantic pop ballads particularly from the 90s will enjoy this one.

“No King” brings us to a bit more of a funky production style. Songs like this are why I would not feel comfortable putting this album in any of our conventional genre categories. The synth work here makes it feel more like dance pop than any of the pure classic genres (folk, country, etc.) reflected in other tracks on the album. “Cinnamon” brings back the steel guitar for an almost orchestral use of the instrument. The production on this one feels truly unique. Again the vocal is the highlight of the track.

The album comes to a conclusion with “Trail,” a genre-bending track with layered atmospheric elements and a strong lead vocal. There’s a mysterious energy to this one, bringing the listener back to a connection with the title track “Minefields.” The vocal harmonies are the best part, befitting of the trail imagery of going for a horse ride.

All told, this album shows connection with a wide range of musical styles. I’m not sure I can settle on a specific mood or purpose for the album. Oftentimes with albums, you can say that it’s clearly for dance or party or chill. This album invites the listener to focus and listen closely on some, while feeling lighthearted and danceable in other places. The variety is sure to be an asset to some fans of this genre-bending new album from The One Eighties.

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