For Woods Or Trail is the debut album for Minibikes which is a group venture for Melbourne singer songwriter Marcel Borrack. Borrack formed the band in 2010 wanting to add greater musical depth to his material, For Woods or Trail is an intriguing album it has an intimate and cosy feel to it. It's definitely a summer album, relaxed and chilled but with plenty of meat on the bones. Sometimes it's easy to play it safe and opt for what is easy but this album stands defiantly from the herd, and it's a pleasant surprise.
The opening track Kill To Feel establishes a semblance of what the album is about, breezy melodies, strong hooks, the odd melodic left turn, close vocal harmonies and a strong dose of dry wit and a touch of darkness and desperation. Tennis Shoes is full of jangling guitars and Borrack's sublime scratchy vocals as well as his sense of humour and growing confidence as a songwriter. Oh Japan has a Strokes feel to it with the opening guitar intro, Broken Bones has some lilting backing vocals from keyboardist Libby Chow, who was previously a member of Claire Bowditch's group.
I Should Have Known has a percussive drive and a more acoustic bent and is an ode to past mistakes and the benefit of hindsight. It also has that air of breeziness that is a great symbol of this city. Top Brass brings the keyboard more to the fore before blasting off into something Tom Petty would be proud off, it's more loose and rock driven, a nice contrast to the more melodic hook laden songs on the album. Ooo Woo Hoo Hoo continues with some nice rock and soul, laid back but with some grunt. Jude is in a similar vein slow ballsy rock and roll with Borrack pleading and cajoling. Emo Kids which closes the album is almost Latin lounge, it conjures up thoughts of Engelbert Humperdinck in a velvet suit singing Quando Quando Quando. Another pleasant surprise in my musical journey, and another example of the musical jewel that is Melbourne.