Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tell me no lies!

I’m not really good at giving formulaic music reviews. But, being a self-absorbed young lady, I am of course highly skilled at talking about myself. The funny thing for me about Minus Story is that they were a recommendation from a record store clerk when I was buying a Magnetic Fields album just after the release of The Captain Is Dead…. Maybe I was wrong in thinking this, but I was under the impression that they must have been alike. Kind of like a “well, if you like this, you’ll love this” kind of thing. I bought the album and was entirely wrong in my assumptions, but wherever that young man from Skinny’s is now, I owe him.

Minus Story have always floored me with their choice of openers, and ‘In Line’ is nothing less than beautiful. I’ve always just loved the way Jordan Geiger’s vocals skip across the melodies effortlessly, and for some reason listening to him sing “planets mar-ching by” before the track soars off gave me chills and made me realise how much I have anticipated this release.

This album does have a different feel, and one can pick up on that as early as the second track, ‘Aaron’. The level of production (thanks to John Congleton who’s worked with Explosions In The Sky and Polyphonic Spree) is a step up from their previous work, but without trying to sound like a jerk, this usually kills a little enjoyment off for me. A review I read of No Rest For Ghosts (yes, okay, Pitchfork) described it as sounding "like someone let a drama student loose in the band room”. And this is why I have loved them so! They’re manic, unpredictable, and goddamn noisy. Thankfully, this element has not changed. They take as many turns as ever, with abrupt tempo changes, loud haphazard percussion and Geiger’s pleading, chanting vocals. Wailing sax and and piano-driven melodies certainly don't kill the mood, either. It’s so easy to get swept up by the progression of each song, and the album as a whole.

I do have a couple of gripes—Aside from the welcome glitches in the opening of ‘Beast At My Side’, I predict this track to be skip-worthy, which is a shame and a new thing for my devoted relationship with this band. ‘Parachute’ is the misfit of the album for me. It’s too… lounge-y? Though, the instrumentation does kind of pull things through at roughly the halfway mark, and the ‘Mama Mama’ puts them right back on track for the remainder of the album.

I listened to that first Minus Story purchase on the dusk train ride home that afternoon in awe, and since they have provided me with a perfect and rather diverse soundtrack to a lot of my favourite memories. And that’s something to be said for a collective with such a small back catalogue. I doubt this album will be any exception. It’s currently streaming – in full – on Jagjaguwar’s site until its June 19 release.

P.S. They’re currently doing a short US tour with Shearwater, and few shows with Jamie Stewart… can you imagine?!

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