REVIEW: Minefield - "After the Ball"

By Christopher Eissing

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A short release (the length of what we called in the old-days a '7-inch'), Minefield's sophomore outing is a gentle offering showing nice growth. It stands firmly on the shoulders of those female artists that have gone before. Drawing heavily from Tori Amos and Kate Bush, there are also smatterings of Siouxsie Sioux and October Project. But to be honest, any female vocalist who works heavily with piano is going to draw comparisons to the above mentioned.

It's Too Late is a bright tune utilizing samples, sequencing and rhythm effectively. Reminiscent of Bruce Cockburn, to serve counter-point with gentle lyrics and vocals. Her vocal similarities to Tori Amos and Kate Bush are almost eerie. Were she also to mimic style they could be indistinguishable. I Believe is a soft ethereal tune. Light, airy, but not without weight. It draws heavily from Enya in composition.

After the BallAfter the Ball shows off Tamara Kent in her element song writing element. Working with chief collaborator Neil Parfitt, the two have spun a tune that is minimal and engaging, peppered with moments and changes that keep it fresh and alluring. Easily the strongest and fullest tune on the short-release, Control smacks of Portishead. Here Tamara is easily heard spreading her vocal wings. This tune points to good things to come. Rounding the album out, the tune Life is mellow and introspective, with sweet harmonies and melancholy piano.

After the Ball as a concept collaboration captures the potential of a duo as they search for their distinct style. Tamara Kent's best moments are when she sings out, pouring emotion into her voice and allowing it to become a full expression. After the Ball is a wonderful showcase of her talent, but it is easy to hear her strain at the convention and familiarity of the vocalists she pays homage to. As a duo, Minefield break little ground in the greater scheme of music, but they do gain ground; creating a sound with their 2nd album that most artists have been happy to plateau with.

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