Miniboone - MiniBoone
Record Label: Ernest Jenning Record Co.
Release Date: Sept. 10, 2013
There's power-pop and then there's MiniBoone. On their self-titled debut full-length the Brooklyn ensemble packs a lot of punch in just under 50 minutes. Opening with the clattering and jittery "The Superposition of Human Affection," the band immediately makes a statement from the get-go: This music is going to be caffeinated, hyper-literate and utterly danceable. That statement is pretty much the MO for the rest of the disc. "I Could, I Could" is jubilant and cheery, while "Gimme Gimme Gimme" is bopping and buoyant. The real secret to MiniBoone is that the band performs music so triumphantly and with such ease and aplomb they automatically force you to sit down and listen. Vocalist Craig Barnes has gone on record as being a huge Hall & Oates fan and the swerve and zest of "Gimme Gimme Gimme" proves that clearly.
That's a trait that's repeated in the dynamic and overt "Baby I Hope So," which wears the R&B influences on its sleeve. One of the band's assets is that they make do with very little. For all its collective charms, the band's three-pronged vocal attack can at times be limited, meager and barely felt. Not one to let tepid vocals distort their agenda, the band tacks on layers of keys and synths and nowhere is that more apparent than on the soaring "Rollerskates." While some may argue that the band is at their best when they are churning out melodic juggernauts, the true magic may be in the more nuanced and restrained efforts, namely the sedate and chilled-out placidity of "Magic Eye."
On the disc's latter half, the trio puts their best foot forward. "Just Like The Day I Heard" is razor-sharp, hyper-kinetic and akin to a runaway speedboat. While Barnes does border on theatrical in his delivery, there's a gravitational pull when he sings the line, "How do you tell your friends that you're in love with them, and if they laugh, do you laugh along with them?" The Hall & Oates devotees return on While U W8, an inanely titled, aural goldmine that is arguably the best song on all of Miniboone. Buttressed by an ebullient chorus, the song is practically screaming for wider audiences and stages.
But the indelible efforts are not over. "Saints In Her System" is a multi-layered effort that begins slow and builds towards something dynamic and impacting, while "$Boone" is another inanely titled effort that has a zest and swerve that makes up for its constant meandering. The disc closes with "Animal Age' an effort that much like "Magic Eye" points towards the band putting their best foot forward on the more restrained and tranquil efforts. Anchored by an airy organ there's a power and precision at work here that is far too hard to fake or emulate.
Since their formation in 2002, New Jersey's Ernest Jenning Record Co. has made a habit of releasing albums from criminally overlooked champions of first-rate indie. MiniBoone is no exception to that statement and is an absolute grand slam of a record. It's time for power-pop to say hello to its new heavyweights.