So much of the electronica-laced indie pop that I hear these days seems to strive for some measure of whimsy or childlike wide-eyed-ness. But oftentimes, it comes off as the sort of trite pop that may be catchy and neat to listen to, but offers little more after the first few listens. Minikon’s Hope avoids that for the most part.
To be sure, Minikon’s music — which sounds like one of the more electronica-minded folks on the Darla label (e.g., Jonas Munk) taking a stab at remixing and covering Sufjan Stevens, with maybe a hint of Joy Electric’s analog bubbliness thrown in for good measure — is oftentimes cute and bubbly, and may not seem all that revelatory or groundbreaking. But there is a certain mixture of joy and melancholy, of frivolity and darkness throughout the album that is rather beguiling.
“Family Mountain” drifts along gracefully on strummed acoustic guitars, wistful flutes, and crunchy electronic beats, and conjures up a mood that is nostalgic without the navel-gazing. Meanwhile, the aptly titled “Fun” and “She Makes Me Happy” are packed with whimsical programming, 8-bit bleeps and bloops galore, and some subtle-yet-affecting melodic shifts.
The album’s highpoint, however, does contain an unmistakably revelatory moment or two. “Forever Loves” begins with gently swelling ambient textures and drum n’ bliss beats à la classic Color Filter or Junior Varsity KM. The track builds so easily that you don’t even realize it’s building at all, that is until the gorgeous climax of trilling flutes and exultant programming.
It’s the sort of moment that could sound trite if it weren’t actually so darn earnest, bright-eyed, innocent — and well-played. And the track’s mellow denouement is a nice touch, a reflective moment that lets you down nice and easy, a fine example of Minikon’s attention to those little details that provide the otherwise light and fluffy music with a surprisingly engaging amount of emotional heft.