Sound — 9
Neo-folk jamborees splash across The Minor White's latest release Daily Vacation, out on Prairiequeen Records, as fragrantly as dandelions strewn across patches of green as far as the eye can see. The harpsichord-toned piano melody of A Change In Season spawns the weeping sensations of the guitar coils swirling around and shadowing the tune in Old World nostalgia, while the melodic silhouettes of The Ditty have a carnival ride vitality. The wispy, alt-country guitar chords of Static Redbeard are romantically-imbued as the whining violin strings played by Mark Woodyatt add depth to the melody, and the slim layers of the acoustic-pop tune Moonrag are choreographed with a cadence familiar to As Tall As Lions. The toe-tapping pumping grooves of the title track have a cabaret-style that is infallibly entertaining with islands of sensual brass sections performed by trumpet player Jim Ruland and saxophonist Dan Dectis and roped in animated piano keys and supple guitar chords. The final number So, Oklahoma is a gently simmering ballad in doles of softly plucked guitar chords and lulling violins. The album has art-pop strokes in its schematics with neo-folk instrumentation. The life-like still-life sonic portraits are intriguing without making the music too artsy or going over the top in theatrics.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics are the weakest part of the songs. The words are common phrases that you hear everyday or colloquial sayings that anyone can come up with like in the song The Ditty repeating Sorry to say but it's all in the weather, or in So, Oklahoma pointing out See if you can recognize things that you keep inside, and in the tune Moonrag musing about Now everything's gone away. The lyrics have a conversational flow using plain language as lead vocalist Roy Williams murmurs the phrases like speaking under his breath. Often, you have to stretch your hearing and really concentrate on what Williams is saying because his vocals are so subdued.
Overall Impression — 9
Though Williams' vocals are lethargic, they fit so well with the music. There is an Old World nostalgia about the melodies using elements of art-pop and neo-folk, which make these songs shine. It is an album that is hard to forget, and chances are likely that you won't want to. Band members Roy Williams (lead vocals, piano, keyboards, guitar, mandolin, whistling), Kevin Williams (keyboards, accordion, backup vocals), Ian O'Hara (electric and upright bass), Shane O'Hara (drums), and Kyle Wall (piano, guitar, keyboards) are from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Their assets include a true proficiency in melodically phrasing instrument parts to form sharply designed productions. The Minor White create songs that are complex but not impossible to replicate in a live show, which increases the album's value.