True Live - Minton's

I made a critical mistake in listening to the new True Live EP, 'Minton's'. I'd heard the hype. I know people who rave about the group, and my expectations were high. Of course I was disappointed on first listen, but first appearances are never what they seem.


The opening track 'Question This', instantly introduces the first time listener to the strings sections of the group. Featuring violin, cello and double bass, it isn't some cool sample attempt to sound sophisticated and add depth. It's who they are. But the lyrical gymnastics soon kick in, with the emcee talents displayed superbly. Despite featuring that annoying non-descript hip hop (slightly Americanised) accent, the lyrical assault is fluent and easy to groove into.


'Minton's' appears twice on the release, with the alternative take jamming into a traditional jazz soloist exhibition for each band member. The keys and bass combine perfectly on this track, and the clap along hook is instantly entrenched in your psyche. It's definitely the recording highlight, despite 'Bounce' being the track being pushed for radio play. Which itself is my least favourite track. I suspect it's a live performance favourite, but on the recording has little to offer, with the energy lost through the production.


'Evolution' is a live track, recorded at the Enmore Theatre. It is a slow burn, with the layers and atmosphere building, with one hell of a kick. The piano vignette thoroughly enjoyable, and showing a glimpse into the semi-structured nature of the live shows.


"The group's personnel list incorporates some of the best musicians Melbourne has to offer, all members are graduates of the Victorian College of the Arts and have developed careers around their respective talents." This is quite clearly respected, with no one element the focus or one neglected. There are some pretty mediocre groups around at the moment, trying to pass themselves off as fusions of genres and cross-over artists, but True Live aren't just the hype. Sure there are bits of the EP I find less than impressive, but with this kind of genre bending, it's normal for a listener not to like every element. Ultimately, the EP showcases their musicianship, the variety of their sound, and makes me want to see them live. As Minton's declares, the aim here is ‘jazzed out rock blends with hip hop'. True Live do it, and with class.

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