Comprised of founding member Justin Lockey of Editors, and his brother Justin Lockey, along with Mogwai‘s Stuart Braithwaite and Slowdive‘s Rachel Goswell, the indie rock, All-Star quartet, side project, Minor Victories initially began as its founding member’s desire to create an extreme noise EP featuring delicate female vocals. However, interestingly enough, the members of Minor Victories can trace the origins of their collaboration to the serendipity of mutual friends, which they followed by brief meeting — and the exchanging of song ideas, fragments, demos and fleshed out songs through broadband connections. And the end result was the quartet’s critically applauded, self-titled full-length debut, which was released earlier this year.
While expanding upon the sound of their most famous primary projects, the band finds each member of the band sonically pushing themselves and crossing as many creative barriers as possible. Interestingly, the project’s soon-to-be released effort, Orchestral Variations is an album of orchestral and instrumental interpretations of the material off Minor Victories’ debut album. The concept, as the band’s Justin Lockey explained to the folks at VICE THUMP began with Lockey “fucking around” but as he progressed, it felt increasingly valid because it presented the songs and harmonies in a completely different light — revealing a stunning beauty underneath the vitriol. In press note Lockey explains that Orchestral Variations‘ latest single “Give Up The Ghost” is an orchestral arrangement on the original song. On the full band album, the song begins with an enormous bit of fuzz and vitriol; however, the Orchestral Variation version has Lockey stripping the arrangement down to Rachel Goswell’s vocal melody, which was buried underneath layers of guitar tracks and arena rock-like drums. “In the end, I started with marimbas . . why? Because everyone loves a marimba (if not, they ought to). I guess from my part, it’s a huge nod to Steve Reich, with some melodramatic strings woven in for good measure.” And the result, is gorgeous and soaring and melodramatic composition that sounds as though it should be part of a movie soundtrack while capturing the mood of harried commuters rushing to and fro.
Interestingly, as Lockey explains in press notes, the video was shot by his brother James while they had a day off in Berlin and it features an incredibly simple concept — the band’s Rachel Goswell riding the Berlin metro with enormous headphones on, sitting next to her fellow commuters. And as the train travels you see the Goswell and her fellow commuters sitting next to her, lost in their thoughts and daydreaming; at points the motion of the train or the length of their day has someone close their eyes and nod off; at other points, people get off at their various stops; people and train stops rush by. If it wasn’t so relatively clean, it would look and feel as though you were riding the subway in New York.