ammonia – mint 400

it’s heavier than anything in recent times. it’s a thing to behold.

the strongest songs on this album are the first four. each one is instantly recognisable, and fully worthy of the singles they spawned. the whole album stands strong. yet the band won’t be known to a lot of people. there is a powerful element of nostalgia in the enjoyment to be had.

it arrived at the crest of the wave for me, being released in my last year of high school. i was itching to turn 18 so i could go to live gigs. they sounded similar to the early work of you am i, who the band thanked along with a plethora of other great australian acts of the 1990s in the liner notes for this album. they embodied a world i wanted to know – my first sense of a genuine identity i could form that had everything to do with loving music that felt like it didn’t belong to anyone else i knew (i know that seems ridiculous and unrealistic, but i was young).

it wasn’t until a couple of years later that we finally got round to heading to a live show of theirs. the we being my friend sarah and i. they were headlining, when previously they’d been appearing on split bills that hadn’t appealed to us. we were a little wary, but excited.

for some reason, we expected decent guys. what we got was not so much that, but a group full of their own self-importance and well past the peak of mint 400, though they still had a couple of gems from their second album to share. they wore clothes that made us laugh, they said things that baffled and possibly offended us.

we sat under the archway at the end of the adelaide uni bar cloisters and pondered what we had missed. we lamented. we left without looking back. it marked a point when we started looking more to the horizons of music.

[not from this album, but the next and last steps]


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