New Audio: Mint Julep’s Breezy, 80s-Inspired Synth Pop Sound

Comprised of husband and wife duo, Keith Kenniff (multi-instrumentalist/producer), also known for his work as Helios and Goldmund and Hollie Kenniff (vocals and primary songwriter),  Portland, OR-based duo Mint Julep started in 2007 with relatively modest intentions –an attempt to get the normally shy Hollie Kenniff to sing more. Initially, the duo’s sound drew from early 90s shoegaze but eventually their sound gradually became influenced by electronic music through the duo’s admiration of rough edged sounds of industrial electronica, which Hollie was a big fan of, and punk rock, which Keith was a big fan of. As Keith Kenniff explained in press notes, “It took us a while to suss out whether this was something we were just going to have fun with, or if we’d actually release our music. But we ended up keeping at it, and now we’re at the point where we’ve created something with its own sound that’s very unique to us.”

The Portland-based duo’s sophomore effort, Broken Devotion was written over a four year period with the duo’s sound reportedly being more lush and intricately layered than their debut effort, Save Your Season while thematically the material explores both the light and dark dimensions of love. “White Hot Heart,” Broken Devotion‘s first single pairs a driving, motorik groove, layers of shimmering and undulating synths and Hollie Kenniff’s ethereal coos in a slickly produced and moody pop song with a shimmering and breezy melody. Sonically, the song is clearly indebted to the synth pop of Pet Shop Boys — think of “West End Girls” for example — as the song possesses a hazy nostalgia over a love affair that has slowly unravelled before the narrator’s eyes while being danceable.

 

 

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