“Whenever I hear those Minibikes recordings, I just get jealous.”

Brent De Boer—The Dandy Warhols/Immigrant Union


On first encountering Minibikes' debut album For Woods Or Trail one could easily  imagine that the up and coming four piece would be better suited to climes far warmer than the cold grey streets of Melbourne town. It is perhaps in protest to the eternal  winter that plagues their home city that Minibikes have released a musical document which positively evokes the spirit of summer.

It's all upbeat grooves, fervent guitars and a production aesthetic that clings to the abundant hooks on offer like a shirt on the back during a clammy night ride through the hot deserted streets of a city.  Dig a little deeper beyond the summery sheen and one can also find darker lyrical themes at work. Above or below the surface For Woods Or Trail offers plenty of reward for both listeners sweet of tooth and those deep of heart.

Minibikes came into existence in 2010 when guitar playing singer songwriter Marcel Borrack realised he needed a band to add meat to the new material he had been coming up with. Teaming up with percussionist Al Barden, keyboard player and Clare Bowditch and the Feeding Set member Libby Chow, bass player Nathan Farrelly, and along with the addition of Tim Harvey on guitar, the newly monikered Minibikes set about honing a sound and working on the aforementioned songs that were to become the band's debut LP For Woods Or Trail.

Choosing the DIY recording route For Woods Or Trail was captured at Borrack's home studio with the man himself taking control of production duties. Without the constraints of time and budget usually associated with recording in a professional studio Borrack was able to give the tracks time to breathe; the resulting album is impressive in it's singular focus, it's upbeat and uplifting songs with a palpable hint of melancholy simmering just below the surface.

The album opens with Kill To Feel and immediately the listener is introduced to the  pervasive upbeat mood featured across the album. With its bouncy feel and breezy melody the track is an obvious choice as first single and is destined to be the band's first contact with Australian radio after already gaining positive attention on college and alternative stations in the US. Tennis Clothes comes in at track two and it could have been  just as at home on the Strokes debut with it's snaking, melodic bass line driving both the rhythm and melody as a chiming rhythm guitar underpins Borrack's sweet analogue vocal delivery.

From here the album picks up pace with the syncopated hand claps and front of mix tambourine of Oh Japan again featuring the wonderful vocal harmonies of  Libby Chow, onto Here Come the Bees where again the hooks fly thick and fast. Broken Bones with it's arpeggiated guitar figure is held aloft by another one of Nathan Farrelly's sweetly melodic bottom lines, and the conjuring of sunshine continues.

I Should Have Known is driven from the drums with a rolling, retro-inspired soul beat, carrying verses about the age old adage of hindsight being 20-20, particularly in this case when it come to affairs of the heart. Top Brass hints at a pre-jumping of the shark Kings Of Leon with it's triumphant scuffed chords and memorable vocal melody delivered through an almost clenched jaw, the rhythm section using bold flourishes to emphasise each and every phrase.

Ooo Woo Hoo Hoo as the name suggests is a slice of perfect melancholy pop, again showcasing Minibike's impressive grasp of melody, the outfit never shy to throw in tasty hooks at every twist and turn.

On Jude the band drop back the tempo and deliver a gorgeous ballad complete with an ascending guitar break outro that returns us back to a place full of hope and promise. Wires also carries a beautiful sentiment and is all about hanging on against all adversity, even when you're down to the wires.

Title track For Woods Or Trail reveals itself as a slow burning instrumental with a haunting e-bowed guitar line that dissolves in and out of the stereo mix like liquid honey. Then all too quickly the album finishes with Emo Kids an hilarious bossa nova-esque take on what Elvis Costello fronting a 40's era lounge band in Vegas would sound like, crooning clarinet and cheesy casiotone against an hilarious tongue-in-cheek tirade against emo kids who “have got it all wrong.”

As far as debut albums, it is a lofty ambition to expect every track will hit the mark; thankfully on Minibike's For Woods Or Trail this suggestion is mute as each track threatens to outdo the next as its strongest. For lovers of pop, for lovers of rock, soul, and yes, even bossa nova, For Woods Or Trail is the soundtrack to the endless summer we all wish our lives could be.





Kill To Feel (3:28)
Tennis Clothes (3:38)
Oh Japan (4:02)
Here Come The Bees (3:28)
Broken Bones (3:24)
I Should Have Known (3:20)
Top Brass (3:15)
Ooo Woo Hoo Hoo (3:04)
Jude (4:56)
Wires (3:23)
For Woods Or Trail (3:24)
Emo Kids (4:08)



Tennis Clothes by Minibikes on Grooveshark    Kill To Feel by Minibikes on Grooveshark


High-res photos



High-res album cover



Minibikes website: www.theminibikes.com.au
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Minibikes/212350485454040
Myspace: www.myspace.com/myminibikes



Management by Wally Kempton at Cheersquad: wally@theminibikes.com.au