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MINNY POPS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Drastic Measures, Drastic Movement (Hol. Plurex) 1979
Sparks in a Dark Room (Bel. Factory Benelux) 1982
SMALTS
Werktitels EP (Hol. Plurex) 1982
POSTE RESTANTE
Poste Restante (Hol. Plurex) 1983

Even in 1979, Minny Pops didn't seem drastic in the purest sense but rather deliberately, almost clinically extreme. The Dutch foursome's most salient characteristic on record is dissonance, even sheer noise — valid artistic devices in the proper hands, but it takes vision and inspiration, of which the Pops seem to possess little. Whether they're having a go at industrial clang or setting pop clichés and oldies in jarringly alien musical contexts, even their best comes up short of what others (e.g., Throbbing Gristle, Half Japanese) have achieved in the same area. No doubt they've applied themselves diligently to make this music, but the net result lacks spark and invention. Minny Pops' first LP, released on the band's Plurex label, Holland's most important and active indie, was reissued, with the addition of a bonus 45, in 1982.

Glimmerings of something better flicker on the Smalts EP. The syncopated percussion and keyboards/synth noises, including an arresting accordion/harmonium-type sound, are like a soundtrack in search of a movie, but effective within its limits. Smalts was, in fact, two members of Minny Pops exploring new avenues in preparation for creating the musical setting for a stage production entitled Poste Restante. The resulting LP of that name involved the whole band, plus others; although they didn't write all the material, Minny Pops perform everything except some vocals (mostly declaimed, not sung). Out of context, and entirely in Dutch, whatever meaning it has is limited to the vaguely unified feel and the knowledge that it's ostensibly a drama about travel.

[Jim Green]