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Tide’s End, the second LP by songwriter/instrumentalist Sonny Kilfoyle under the name Minks, was reportedly inspired by a sojourn to the East Coast of Long Island, surveying wealth in decline. Kilfoyle doesn’t so much pay tribute to the failing upper class as simply make observations, letting the listener draw his/her own conclusions. Tunes like “Weekenders,” “Everything’s Fine” and “Playboys of the Western World” extend a friendly wave toward the idle rich, but keep a distance as well. Working with transplanted Berlin techno producer Mark Verbos, Kilfoyle creates synthesized backdrops that alternate between lush and busy, leavened with guitars and the songwriter’s understated singing. Occasionally, as on “Doomed and Cool” and “Romans,” the electronics become chillier than the songs deserve, but Kilfoyle’s appealing melodies tend to keep the tracks out of trouble. Sort of like the Divine Comedy crossed with the Pet Shop Boys without the smirk, Minks creates observational pop music that balances a sense of wistful nostalgia with a reporter’s objectivity.
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