The Dale Von Minaker Band – You Are Here


Review by Paul H Birch

Kidderminster power-pop best played loud on a Sunday morning while shuffling round the house pretending to do something meaningful on the home improvement front, The Dale Von Minaker Band excel in upbeat anthems for the modern day everyman. You Are Here is a crisp full sounding production recorded at Magic Garden Studios in Wolverhampton, where every instrument is given full attention in the mix from some great chopping guitar chord sequences to a full-on supporting melodic bass and crashing drums acting as musical punctuation. Frontman Dale Von Minaker writes songs in that British storytelling tradition that Ray Davies and Pete Townsend scored hits with. It’s a damned sight harder to smash into the charts if you’re no longer a pretty boy managed by a svengali-shyster these days, but give this a listen and there’s a good chance most people will find it appealing enough.

‘I Cannot Begin’ should be cranked up to 11, its melodious driving chords, infectious pre-chorus harmonies and clever lyrics sung along to as an empowerment for anyone feeling stressed at work, while ‘Feeling’ is delivered beautifully and waiting open armed to be snatched up for the soundtrack to the next ‘Bridget Jones’ movie. ‘Is It A Dream Steve?’ and ‘Jackie Let Go’ has Von Minaker opting for a more nasal Elvis Costello vocal approach in places, and not something I’m overly fond of, but I can see how others would be. Whereas, his vocal delivery on songs like ‘Dirty Eyes’ shimmers, invoking passion admirably. My own desire would be for the band to keep their signature sound and for them to add another guitarist – while there are compelling chord changes and melody lines throughout, that x-factor is missing that a strictly lead guitar player might add that could take them to the next level. They don’t need an axe hero but if such guitars could sing the way the vocal harmonies do, now that would be something extra special. But of course, even as I type this something as downright hummable yet lyrically profound as ‘This Summer’ comes out of the speakers and I have to stop, listen and smile.

Acts like The Cars, Bryan Adams or The Manic Street Preachers can’t be pigeonholed into the same category except they all wrote songs we can whistle or even sing along to (but let’s face it, any sexual or political subtexts in their lyrics go over most of our heads). By that tokenism The Dale Von Minaker Band can also stand up and be counted. This is music that doesn’t have to apologise for what it is, and what it is, quite frankly, is good!

Minaker - You Are Here7 out of 10

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Track listing:

  1. I Cannot Begin
  2. Move you
  3. From Hackman’s Gate
  4. Feeling
  5. Casual Sex
  6. Is It A Dream Steve?
  7. Jackie Let Go
  8. Dirty Eyes
  9. Odd One Out
  10. This Summer
  11. Sleepwalking