Written By: Christine Reynolds
“She set’s the world on fire!” (lyrics from the ‘Girl In The Velvet Band’)
Mina catapults herself to this standard; recreating an album that has visually and psychologically transformed me back In – time! It took me to ‘Abbey Road,’ it took me to ‘Stardust,’ and it took me to the experimentation of 60’s nostalgia that seated: The Who, Pink Floyd, The Hollies, Velvet Underground and even the doors. I’m sold, and let me tell you why?
The release of ‘Love Hard’ – May 2016, is a transformation of sound and self. When Mina fronted as lead singer for ‘Life of Agony’ she was an alternative metal head who displayed bouts of wisdom, introspection and clear blue eyes that shine with an uncertain clarity – not romanticizing the YouTube interviews I have seen but Mina seemed far from settled. Even her attire, attitude and posture clued in a dystopian figure – somehow. It was all these plastered together that even led to Mina’s demise from the ‘Life of Agony.’ They had been described as a band to have a clear distinctive sound in the 90’s; alive on stage, electric, and painstakingly able to work up a crowd. Mina lost her love for metal music, and thus went on to develop a solo career – releasing nine albums – and ‘Love Hard’ being the tenth.
The work put into this album is mastered to an effect that shadows her admiration for Lennon (to some effect) almost a juvenescent period that is stuck in auto – play. Tracks like ‘love hard’ and ‘The girl in the velvet band’ reek pleasantly of Beatlemania – with its airy sweetness and simple chords of love. ‘Upturned Faces’ is like a post – modern 80’s single that doesn’t quite scream at you, but can be forgiven. ‘Close to me’ transported me back to the square box in a retro living room with the swaying of heads and hands that feel the colossal vibe. ’Do Do Do Do’ is the Ziggy Stardust/Beatle remedy – shaker that blends a computerized effect with the audio tweaked voice that elevates the ‘Do Do Do Do’ to a contrasting parity.
‘Doll Face’ had me at country; whilst ‘Lonely wolf’ transported my mood to the dragging of Mina’s voice. It’s the lowest tone I’ve heard Mina take on the album, and transfigures me again to a period where isolation and complete loneliness surrounds Mina’s feelings. ‘Life Line of a Stranger’ is experimental, maybe psychedelic in its nature – with the male- voice inputting the importance of ‘Stranger.’
‘Bette Davis Eyes’ throws back the golden era of the famous saying, ‘Bette Davis Eyes,’ who was known for her killer eyes that titillated and captivated you. The voice of Mina and the instrumentals in the background drift off into space; leaving an evanescent mood that mellows out into its finish
I would rate this album – 3.8 out of 5. Why? Mina has spoken that the album was centered around love, and the lack of it. The lyricism is poetic, artistic and influenced heavily by a forever remembered era, but it still feels like I was transported more through mastering of the chronicled instruments and sounds that fitted the whole album together. I feel like I’m lost sometimes between straining to hear what Mina is saying, and losing myself to the timeless composing of the creations behind her voice. I may be wrong, so, if you disagree please say? But for now, I feel it is an imaginative album with lots to say.