It’s easy to compare Vincent Minor to Ben Folds. There are the piano-driven songs, layered with quirky observations juxtaposed with somber ruminations. Minor’s vocals, especially on the song “Fanfare,” even hit some of the same notes and aura as Ben’s. The press release also mentions his Rufus Wainwright-like quality and there’s some of that on the way Minor approaches each song.
Born in the Wrong Era is Minor’s debut EP (to be followed by a full album in the fall). It’s brimming with sharp lyrics delivered with smooth vocals. The music is rarely evocative, but it’s always atmospheric. Minor’s reference to his era may relate to some smoky cabaret, which his music suggests, or a dank Prohibition-era club, or an airport lounge in a Rust Belt town circa 1976.
But I think it probably means he makes interesting music that in another era might have been played on the radio, garner a request or two, or get more than one rotation than on a community college station in Duluth.
The proof is in the songs themselves. There are only five, but each one counts. Well one barely counts, but it doesn’t completely fail either. The songs here follow a similar pattern, but are each distinctive and decisive.
The opener “Fanfare” is a well-crafted song, bouncing along with light percussion. It’s a pastiche of 70’s piano-driven pop and a 1920’s vaudeville tune. Minor’s voice takes center stage in the production, delivering intriguing lyrics. He tips his hat in the lyrics to the "quizzical crowd/Watch the magic come out of a fat man’s mouth/His pitter-patter on the legs of laughter/Keeps on kicking you." It’s easily the best song on the collection. Fresh, dynamic, and catchy, it took me all of two listens to get into this one. It’s a nicely layered song with little musical nuances, and turns of phrase that allows for a gradual move into the fold (no pun intended).