A bit of a strange one this, as this entire album was written and recorded back in 2009, and following some great production work at Wavelength Studios, Doncaster and Sight & Sound Studios, Bolton-on-Dearne the album was released in full in September 2010. Regardless, Mynas sent it across to us to review so we’ve had a listen and we’re glad that we did. Mynas have put together a happy, eclectic album with a list of influences ranging from Elbow to Half Man Half Biscuit to Radiohead to The Smiths so there really is something here for everyone.
‘Draw!’ starts the album off brilliantly. The track opens with a great interplay between flute & acoustic guitar, before the electric guitar comes in with a keyboard part which is also really catchy. Lead singer Del then comes in with a perfectly sung vocal track. Instantly I’m reminded of the Lightning Seeds, as Del sounds just like Ian Broudie on their 1994 album ‘Jollification’, specifically opening track ‘Perfect’. You would notice that particular album in any music shop; it’s the one with the giant strawberry floating in a sunny blue sky. The band have got this opening track spot on and it’s a great start to the album.
Second song ‘Retreat’ instantly shows the bands ability to change their style between each and every song, where ‘Draw!’ was melodic and slow, ‘Retreat’ is punchy and angsty, the music is really tight, stopping and starting again around the vocal part, again the keyboard part provided by Martin Fletcher is excellent and shows the instruments benefit in filling out the sound of a tune. The drums also really work in this track, and Del shows a lot of versatility, this time managing to sound halfway between an angry Paul Weller and a thoughtful Bob Dylan with his delivery.
At the time of writing and recording the album it’s interesting to note that Mynas were an eight piece outfit, which I’m sure wreaked havoc in trying to get them on stage in a lot of South Yorkshire’s smaller venues. Currently however the band are playing as a regular five piece. ‘Masons’ carries the album on and again Steve Booth puts another great shift in on the sticks, and there is a great bass line provided by Chris Scarfe. This song is obviously about being down at the local pub, and Del provides some interesting little quips which really do remind you of a night out.
‘The Only Friend You Need’ is one of the best recorded songs on this album. Another song brings another different comparison, this time I think the band encapsulate a sound similar to the Manic Street Preachers, in particular the song ‘Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky’ which was a track on the Manics’ ‘Everything Must Go’ album. I’m sure Del will be chuffed with this comparison because personally I don’t think there as ever been a better vocalist in indie or rock as good as their lead singer/guitarist James Dean Bradfield. Everything Mynas have done here just works and they have been rewarded with a great track.
‘Wherever You Are Not’ is also fantastic, but again in a totally different way to the last song. This time Martin again plays a perfect piano sounding keyboard part which marries in to Del’s acoustic guitar, which itself reminds me of the Razorlight song ‘Somewhere Else’, but somehow these two combine to give a Mediterranean feel, which is added to a million percent more in the latter part of the song with a most amazing Spanish guitar solo part which is mind blowing. The ‘Somewhere Else’ style refrain comes back in to close the song and again another great track is complete.
The next song ‘Ill Gotten Gain’ is most memorable for it’s funky bass line which remains at the fore all the way through the song, also it should be noted that this is probably the best drum track, both musicians work well here to keep things tight. The only disappointment with ‘Ill Gotten Gain’ is it’s length, clocking in at just over two minutes I was personally enjoying the song too much for it to end so abruptly.
‘If You Work Hard’ again pulls up the Manic Street Preachers similarity in it’s style, this song is a long lost brother of the song ‘Kevin Carter’. ‘I’m sure that you can make this your career/If you work hard and go to school/If you work hard’. As chief songwriter Del consistently writes meaningful and passionate lyrics throughout the album. Certainly one to look out for in a live Environment, ‘If You Work Hard’ is catchy and sticks in the memory.
‘Bullshitter’ is slower, with a greater emphasis on the vocal part ‘A few consoling lines/beats education any day’ is an example of such, and coupled with another top drawer guitar solo this is a solid album track. ‘Old Wont’s’ is relatively similar to ‘Bullshitter’ in style, with a little more oomph provided by the bass and drums, and the two different keyboard parts offer variety.
‘All I’d Been Too Lazy To Tie Down’ wins the award for most small words to be squeezed into a song title, as well as being a great reflective tune. The slow start to the vocal part really show off Del’s vocal talent, and the song itself reminds me of a slower offering by Pulp. Even for what is probably the slowest tune on the album, the musicianship provided is unquestionable, there is always so much going on at once which is a credit to the band. The clever doubling up of the vocal part with backing vocalist Sarah Evans brings the tune out even further and sounds lovely. Personally I’d have been tempted to have this as the album closer, but there are still two more tunes to come yet.
Penultimate track ‘This Can Only End One Way’ again manages to be enchanting, again Sarah is used to add a beautiful soft tone to the vocals, and if I was Mynas I’d have certainly considered wheeling out this plan much more on the album as it really adds to it. Plaudits again need to go to Martin on keyboard, his input always seems to be of a high quality and he doesn’t ever seem to get caught up in himself competing to be at the front of the sound. He just gets it spot on. Great song.
So sadly, I come to the last track ‘Doing You A Favour’ which is another great little tune to end this excellent album on. This time it’s simply Del, with acoustic guitar and a harmonica. That’s all that needs to be said really, apart from this song, as well as the entire album is a well written, well played, well recorded, varied effort which doesn’t put itself in one genre and get stuck there, but flourishes by not being scared of passing over musical boundary lines.
Mynas should be very proud of what they’ve achieved here, from previous members Rachel Harben on flute & Richard Kitson who played harmonica on the final track, to the current line up of Steve (drums), Martin (keys), Chris (bass), Sarah (backing vox) and last but no means least Del Scott Miller, for contributing the guitar & vocals on every track as well as writing all of the lyrics for the album.
The Mynas crowd are predominantly Barnsley based, but have already spread throughout South Yorkshire and further afield with their wonderful live shows playing the successful tracks from this album. Keep an eye on their social networking sites page for information on them playing live soon. Definitely worth a watch in my opinion.
Words by James Whitworth