By Jens Moller | Posted: Thursday June 10, 2021
Every Tuesday at lunch time, Music Club meets in Room 119 to talk about everything and anything audible.
Although New Zealand Music Month has now ended, it was still in full swing when we chose this album. We are talking about The Mint Chicks’ 2006 sophomore album “Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!”
The band (Kody Nielson, Ruban Nielson, Paul Roper, and Michael Logie) met at high-school in Auckland during the early 2000’s, and were active for most of that decade before disbanding in 2010. Brothers Kody and Ruban wrote the vast majority of the music, and have had successful solo careers since The Mint Chicks ended (Ruban with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Kody with OPOSSOM, and Silicon).
Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No? was received very well upon release, winning “Best Album”, “Best Rock Album”, on top of The Mint Chicks winning “Best Group” at the 2007 New Zealand Music Awards. It is a noisy, almost frantic album at times, however placing the album under one genre would be difficult. Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! has been widely influential for the New Zealand music scene, and despite it’s initial accolades probably doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves.
This was a change of pace for the Music Club, and here are some of our thoughts on the album…
There is a very chaotic start to this album. Definitely sets the tone for what you can expect over the album. "Welcome To Nowhere" is a little repetitive but “I would like to spend some time in isolation with you” is very catchy and probably evokes different emotions in 2021 than it would have in 2006. The album has a feel of being very fun. Although the title track (and lead single) is more melancholic than the other songs it is a certified banger. I listened to it maybe 40 times. Amongst the occasionally unintelligible lyrics, and chaotic guitar riffs there are some very catchy riffs and lines that stick with you. The album ends on a bit of a flat note with a long instrumental piece. Overall, it felt like a unique listening experience which is not common for a “rock/punk” album.
A couple of songs would leave me frustrated as they would start a new catchy riff just as the song was ending - such as in “If My Arm Was a Mic Stand” and “Walking Off a Cliff Again”.
This starts out as catchy, lo-fi punk and digresses into a greater direction around the midsection. Quick and pulsey without being stupidly frantic, lively and dancey punk but not overtly derivative - yes, there are way too many Ramones clones out there but The Mint Chicks are not amongst them. Hanging around about the middle of the album there is indeed something cool and calm that seems to hang around. Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!, is an album that is grimey, with a great centre idea of raw punk, while at the same time having some great melodic moments ie. the chorus of the title track. As you delve further through the album, it seems to morph, post-rock, melodic kind of pop punk. Definitely an influential classic although with most albums this down to earth production wise, the rawness does seem to overtake the musical qualities from time to time.
Overall, this album features a very unrefined sound not present in mainstream music. Highlights of the album for many will be their more mainstream-sounding songs, such as "Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!" and "Sleep During the day". "Walking Off a Cliff Again" is repetitive but is also a highlight. To sum up this album, it is a tough listen for many songs first time round. However, after a couple of lyrics you start to hear the songs as catchy and upbeat.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more reviews in the future! Remember - this is all subjective - there is no such thing as a cool taste in music - and you are welcome to agree or disagree via email ([email protected]).