Min Diesel are hardly newcomers to the Scottish scene, their first EP was released nearly five years ago.
The band spent 2014 delving into their extensive catalogue of songs before recording Mince, their first full-length record.
Famously hard to pigeonhole, the band define their sound as “mindie-rock”.
If this record is anything to go by, “mindie-rock” is a fantastic blend of Dinosaur Jr. style off kilter riffs and more obscure garage punk.
First track ‘War Band’ starts with a simple guitar riff before building slowly into a barrage of drums and Min Diesel’s signature shouty vocals with a Scottish twang.
‘Pagan Pageant’ opens with a folk style riff then later erupts, showing the bands knack for grafting unruly riffage to unabashedly bittersweet choruses.
The lyrics aren’t the primary focus here, but it’s hard to argue with the weird mix of catchiness and dreariness on display throughout.
‘Trail of T-Shirts’ is up next, full of more strange hooks and spoiled melodies that continually seem to be appealing, leaving the listener wanting more and continuing on this weird journey that is Mince.
‘Kirk Session’ provides a break from the otherwise unrelenting timbre we have grown familiar with over the last three tracks.
It is mellower, but by no means has this watered down the bands sound.
‘Down on the Green’ brings us back up to familiar Min Diesel territory, the bass rediscovers the sonic growl, over which voice and guitar interweave with a true sense of organised chaos.
Arguably the best song on the album, ‘Last Bus’ seems to mesh pop sensibilities and Min Diesel’s penchant for discordant guitars perfectly.
It perhaps sums up Mince as a record in five minutes; if someone were new to the band, ‘Last Bus’ would be a more than encompassing introduction.
Album closer ‘North East Soul’ is perhaps one of the darkest tracks on the album; for the first time, the band’s Scottish accent is really allowed to shine through.
This provides a slightly heartwarming yet sombre tone, at least to my Scottish ears.
It is clear from the opening 30 seconds that Mince won’t be a record to everyone’s taste.
The discordant nature of the music can be jarring to begin with but makes more sense with each listen.
Given time it grows into a whole different beast; melodies you may not have noticed pop out, hooks begin to appear and the songs start to make more sense.
It is a strong, if challenging record from one of the weirdest bands in Scottish punk music; I for one am excited to see where the band goes from here.
Words: Andy McGonigle