DESERT AFTER RAIN

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Review: LA Weekly

By Liam Gowing

MINIBAR at Cafe Largo, February 4

Not too long ago it looked like Minibar might end up another casualty in the series of record industry expansion/contraction cycles forever chasing market trends. After spending a half-million dollars on their album Road Movies with Grammy Award-winning producer T-Bone Burnett, Cherry Entertainment's parent company, Universal Music, decided to divest itself of the band, because--in the words of Minibar lead singer Simon Petty--"it just wasn't 'shiny, happy people' enough." But instead of returning to their native London, Minibar decided to record another album on the cheap, and turned up at Largo to promote copies of a taster EP, The Unstoppable.

Petty, whose voice evokes a young Peter Gabriel, sang well-crafted, almost anthemically catchy songs that only occasionally shared the downcast lyrical face of his alt-country brethren. Minibar lack the kind of hard-hitting sound necessary to breach the fine cheesecloth of commercial radio playlists, but that criticism misses the point of the band, who are attempting to catalyze an endothermic reaction, not an explosive one. With three-part harmonies drifting over Malcolm Cross' sensitive drums, Sid Jordan's intuitive bass meanderings and Tim Walker's beautifully spacy lap steel, Minibar perfectly achieved their artistic vision at Largo--a desert in bloom.

Petty humbly acknowledged the challenges Minibar face forging ahead without major label support. "We did the impossible," he sang on the EP's title track, "can we do it again?" In the end, their classic sound may never pull the right dollar signs to catapult them onto the world stage as superstars. But to the packed house at Largo, watching a performance that can only be described as flawless, they already were.

From LA Weekly FEBRUARY 14-20, 2003 VOL. 25 NO. 13


Last updated: Oct 01, 2006 - 04:01 PM PDT

Fly Below The Radar
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The Unstoppable EP
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Road Movies
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CD Universe | My Music | Tower


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