Dollars To Pounds: Walk The Minotaur

July 10, 2008

Bronze Age Fox are one of this decade's great lost British bands. A kind of homespun Bristolian precursor to Hot Chip – eccentric record collectors in love with R&B production and buoyed up by those same irresistible schoolboy soul vocals – they made at least three fantastic singles in obscure formats, recorded an album without permission and eventually disappeared into a vortex of low-level record company wrangling. They are still fondly remembered in their home city and obscure corners of the blogosphere, while their spirit lives on in the form of Minotaur Shock, aka former Bronze Age Fox drummer/programmer, David Edwards. For a while I was worried that the Minotaur might have gone the way of the Fox so I was relieved and delighted when a new Minotaur Shock album turned up from 4AD this week, even if it's going to a be a pragmatic download-only affair.

As David explains in the accompanying piffle, “The company that releases my music… spunks a lot of money on lavish felt-lined gilded box-sets made by nimble-fingered faerie folk who live in the woods.” Which is not a bitter sideswipe at 4AD, but a realistic acceptance of Minotaur Shock’s modest place in the scheme of things, and that releasing an album in a non-physical format might be the only way to get it heard at all, without bankrupting its creator.

David has even priced all the tracks on Amateur Dramatics individually according to complex matrix of factors including ‘technical difficulty rating’, ‘extra musicians rating’ and ‘fun/replay rating’. I’d suggest that the fun/replay rating of David’s strident, soulful, toyshop electronica is pretty high throughout.

Minotaur Shock, "My Burr"

It may just be the beard and glasses, or perhaps it's the endearingly obsessive tone of his self-penned press release, but David always reminds me a bit of comedian Daniel Kitson. Which is a nice coincidence, because I went to see Daniel preview his new Edinburgh festival show this week.

IMVHO, Daniel is the best stand-up in Britain. He is instantly, naturally funny: as he will admit during a monologue about going to watch a matinee showing of a new Pixar new film by himself and coming to a worrying realisation, he looks a bit like a paedophile. He's able to ramble aimlessly, hilariously, for hours. On Monday, a simple rustle of a crisp packet took him on a digression about Barack Obama's oratory prowess being rumbled by a sinisterly-proffered nacho.

His material exudes a deeply moral, often poignantly-described love for life's simple, geeky pleasures – 5-a-side football, sash windows, the moment hanging out in your kitchen with friends after watching a terrifying Japanese horror film when you all unconsciously clutch the nearest available weapon only to discover you're left with the plastic potato-masher – and his latest show takes this imperative to the nth degree, being a two-hour love poem… to his old flat.

It’s impossible to do his style justice in print, and he doesn’t do TV, but these clips hint at his unaffected greatness.

From The Collection:

Dollars To Pounds
Posted: July 10, 2008
Dollars To Pounds: Walk The Minotaur