Starlight Mints invade Portland with fresh sounds

Starlight Mints
Oct. 17Satyricon503-243-2380

Norman, Okla.’s quintet the Starlight Mints are coming to P-town, and you can’t stop them. Starlight Mints began as a seven-piece moody pop orchestra, complete with string section, but the group has since trimmed down to a lean five pieces. Singer-song writer Allen Vest grabs his inspiration from the likes of David Bowie, the Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano, and (obviously) The Pixies. Allen has a way with finding the melody with an odd note.

“I’m your classic bedroom songwriter kind of guy,” Vest admits. “I’d rather be writing songs at home than out playing a show.” Hailing from the Bible belt, the Starlight Mints have a heavy British invasion sound. The early pop radio influence on the band is noticeable: the Kinks, the Beatles and the Beach Boys. All in all, the Starlights, like these bands, have a genius knack at finding catches.

From the first listen you’re pulled in. These songs have a way of staying with you long after listening.

They sleep with you and create a soundtrack for dreams.

Unlike so many other groups obsessed with the pure pop of old, the Starlight Mints weave their influences into something remarkably original. They are strong songwriters and, judging from their ability to incorporate familiar sounds in new ways, they have taken from the past but aren’t limited by it. My only complaint about the band, which can be perceived as a high compliment, is their unusual similarity to the Pixies. Vest and company recycle a guitar riff from the Pixies’ “Dead” in the intro of

“Sir Prize” from The Dreams That Stuff Was Made Of.If you can get past the Pixies rip-off stuff, the Starlight Mints are a gem of a band.