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Album Review: Minor Alps – Get There

Minor Alps is the collaborative lovechild of two stellar, musical forces: Matthew Caws of longstanding, alt-rockers Nada Surf and indie singer/songwriter Juliana Hatfield. Their friendship spanning decades has seen the pair work together on numerous occasions, but Get There makes their musical companionship official. And the perfect combination of these two talented musicians makes us wonder why they didn’t get round to making an album together sooner. Not cool guys, not cool.

The debut single ‘Buried Plans’ is a sombre and subdued lullaby with its hushed and enticing vocals, setting the mood for the entire album. ‘I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands’ perfectly encapsulates the feelings of those awkward meetings with someone where you just feel the need to be doing something: “The room is a spaceship and you’re an undiscovered planet.” Answering a phone call, taking a sip of a drink and flicking through the television are all advised. Timeless classic moves to help ease the awkward silence and fuel the sexual tension.

The album is abundant with acoustic melodies, and a beautiful simplicity as the art of the understatement is something these two have mastered, with tracks such as ‘Lonely Low’ and ‘Maxon’ stripped to the bare essentials, letting the vocals do the talking, quite literally. ‘Mixed Feelings and ‘Radio Static’ are reminiscent of 90s guitar fuzz, showing a different side of the album. Pretty melodies are all good and that, but the pair still know how to rock and ignite the angst within us.  Much has also been said about the eerily similar tones of Caws and Hatfield, and this is nowhere more evident on ‘Far From the Roses’, in which both voices pour into one, providing us with sweet, sweet synchronicity.

Get There is an accomplished debut album, not that we would expect any less from these two. With a collection of solid tunes under their belt, Hatfield and Caws are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what this new musical relationship has to offer.

- Clare Povey

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