'These Minutes' is the first release from Lakes, an album that sees influences from hardcore as well as having an ambient texture.
'These Minutes' opens with the chugging guitars of 'Silence' being mixed with unexpected synths that lead into 'Farewell To Shadows', which at first appears to be another instrumental track. But this is not so, as the guitar serves to create a peacefulness soon to be disrupted by the fierce vocals that burst through.
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At first listen it is hard to separate one song from the next, but is made clearer by the frequent interludes that seem to dominate. With three of the nine tracks being instrumental, it seems the band may have been better off making an EP and cutting some of these out, especially as some riffs sound similar to others on the album and a tad repetitive.
But the intermissions themselves are pleasant and serve to give an ever changing and unanticipated tempo that helps to hold your attention. It needs a few listens to hear everything the album has to offer and to get used to this dynamic. The most promising is 'Fri[end]s' which shows Lakes at their best, sounding more structured than the majority of the album, with a repeated riff that takes the lead, making it stand out.
It is clear that 'These Minutes' is full of energy, with songs such as 'We Will Never Drown Alone' being instantly intense after the short interval of 'ii'.
Closing the record with the title track slows the pace down again, following a similar pattern to previous interludes, before building up to a final flare of rage by the end.
It must be remembered that 'These Minutes' is only Lakes' first album so it would be wrong to dismiss them so soon. For their next release to be strengthened it would be good to see less instrumentals and a higher concentration of songs in the vein of 'Fri[end]s' and 'Columns'.
Until then, keep an eye on Lakes, because they have the potential to make a decent second offering.