Ella Minnow Get Cute With Their Latest Full-Length.
The tracklisting on Honey Sweet Devils, the newest offering by Denton collective Ella Minnow, is nearly as sporadic as the personality of frontman Conor Wallace's stage persona.
Listening to the songs meander from acoustic ballads to big jazz-inspired prog numbers and then back to indie-pop, it's not hard to picture the singer bounding atop a stage monitor as if it were a soap box, shifting from sassy spoken word bits to a sweet serenade and, a few times, to downright maniacal screams. Though not a rock opera by any stretch, the wandering collection does start to make more sense when thought of in a more theatrical sense, with Wallace acting as a sort of Freddie Mercury-style ringleader. But what really helps sell Wallace's songs are the ever present female vocals of Courtney Marie and Tiffany Graber, which are most effective when used in an almost cabaret-like call-and-response manner.
The female vocal parts, which are all written by Wallace, are further proof of his capricious persona.
“I like to sing a lot of the lyrics that I write from a female perspective,” Wallace says. “I love the exercise of writing from a perspective that is based off of the people we know or hear about. I love trying to use my empathy to feel something new, even if it is all just me in the end. I think knowing that gives me a confidence writing something female for the girls. We joke when we record about 'Lady Conor.'”
Despite all of the surface chaos, though, there are many aspects that tie the record together. For all its unpredictability, Honey Sweet Devils is a dynamic effort throughout, full of a visual energy that begs to be digested in a live setting.
Perhaps most unequivocally, it's all just downright ceaselessly cute.
“I don't think we put on the typical show,” Wallace says. “The banter is strange, the energy is aggressive to the point of violent sometimes and sometimes we get stinkin' cute. I like the contrast of all those things. I like the diversity, but I understand that, from minute to minute, following that can be difficult for an audience trying to figure out who you sound like.”