IF CHARLES DARWIN were alive and ruminating on indie rock, he'd probably be impressed by the resilience of quasi-local trio Walt Mink (genus: Guitar Rock, species: High-Octane Dork-Pop), whose survival in the face of persistent commercial unfitness makes for one of this decade's most heartrending industry folk tales. Their fourth full-length album on their sixth label to date, Colossus dares to put forth the original Mink agenda yet again, making it hard to tell whether singer/guitarist John Kimbrough's growth has been stunted by adversity or if he simply doesn't much care for evolution.
Tunes like "Goodnite" and "Brave Beyond the Call" are vintage Mink, pinning playful pop melodies to thick, jittery rock riffs and earnestly textured rhythm tracks. The workout is almost too familiar on slow-burners like "John's Dream" and "Lost in the World," distorting Kimbrough's folkie alter ego and betraying the subtler wisdom of the acoustic "Act of Quiet Desperation." But there's still nobody in Major-Label Land who has quite as much fun rattling the pretensions of both the arena and the Macalester coffeehouse. And if it takes another hundred hyperactive underdog hooks to make peace with their bumpy past, there's no reason to doubt that this uncommonly sturdy band will have the stamina to do it.
Walt Mink performs Friday July 18 at First Avenue.
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