Spotlight: Henrietta – The Trick is Not Minding

Languishing somewhere in the limbo between attaining a logical understanding of human nature and suffering in a binary loop of having no idea, Henrietta are one of those rare sapphires in an otherwise listless coal mine; the type to swing for the fences rather than shuffle quietly behind them in confused uncertainty. The Trick is Not Minding is not just an aural and spiritual touchstone to the likes of Thrice and The Dear Hunter, but it is also an embodiment of the spirit of fighting back. What results is an exhaustive, expressive bevy of coping mechanisms and rhetorical explanations, built as much for personal consumption as they are for the countless empathisers that will pack in to sweaty basement shows to sing these songs in care-fee earnest.

henrietta-the-trick-is-not-mindingAt the pumping heart of this swashbuckling sentiment is chief vocal architect Manny Urdaneta, and it’s his ability to sing every word like it’s his last that cultivates these tracks mere emotional tug-of-wars into living, breathing artifacts. The ever-present tingles of pain in his voice constantly threatens to erupt in arms-out-eyes-closed euphoria, and they often do — always as technicolour, ambidextrous choruses that simmer past the boil in fiery fits of frenzy. It’s a testament to his enthusiastic band mates that they can support such a mercurial range of delivery, and they dutifully provide whichever platform Urdaneta requires, from the dense supporting waves of distorted chords and angular percussion in tightly-wound tracks like ‘2000 Miles‘ and ‘A Spectrum’, to knowing when to back off completely like on ‘Brutus’, a track that leaves Urdaneta alone to delicately rise and fall around the sparse, skeletal echoes of his own eyes-down arpeggios.

Indeed, the lines Henrietta draw are nothing inherently new — ‘I’ve changed my mind, it happens all the time’ Urdaneta exclaims in exasperated, apologetic angst on the soaring ‘2000 Miles’ — but that’s okay. There’s a certain poetry in such non-poetic prose, and The Trick is Not Minding is absolutely full of it. ‘Quit counting all the mistakes you’ve made’ (‘Give Up Kid’), ‘I can’t find the right words’ (‘Constantinople’), ‘I’ll understand if you have to move on’ (‘Leave it Alone’), ‘I could be alone and happier’ (‘Greater Fool’), ‘We’ve made promises we couldn’t keep’ (‘Away From Home’) etc etc. Note especially Urdaneta’s repetition of well-wishing to a familiar face leaving on the wonderfully stirring ‘Away From Home’. It’s self-defeating but entirely relatable. It is simplicity that moves you because of it, not in spite of.

It is remarkable that an LP so long in the making is this straight forward, and it’s delightful when a band can channel their feelings in accessible, linear adrenaline shots without sounding corny or derivative. Probably the last band that did it this effectively was Captain, We’re Sinking, and it’s because they, like Henrietta, do the basics really well. Not Minding’s greatest trick, though, is not getting itself lost in a maze of fuzzy context and pseudo-concepts. It is an energetic, single-minded rock record that invites you to add your own voice, and it is ravenous in its pursuit of that age-old endeavour.

Isaac Powell
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Isaac Powell

Isaac is Editor-in-Chief of Noted, and prefers his music loud and steaks rare. Lives and writes in Nottingham, England.
Isaac Powell
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