Review Summary: A brave morning and a glorious night.
There comes a time in everyone’s life where they listen to a piece of music, and then think to themselves that it seems oddly familiar. Whether it is the lyrical content, instrumental structure, or the vocal performance, a sound can be similar to another. While it is impossible for a song to sound the exactly the same as another song, strong similarities have been identified through a wide variety of music today. Nirvana’s “Come as you are”, has been noted to sound increasingly like Killing Joke’s “Eighties”; while almost every pop single sounds exactly like the previous single released by that artist. Then there comes a band like Mineral. Basically, if I had to distinctively describe their sound, the first words to pop into my mind are “Sunny Day Real Estate”. Further examinations of the song structures and lyrical content prove my point, but the instrumentation contrasts deeply to my thesis.
“The Power of Failing” is Mineral’s grand debut into the world of music, and a captivating one if that. Sound a little familiar? It just so happens that Sunny Day Real Estate’s debut was one of their best releases also. The content for SDRE’s debut was so original at the time, that it has become a classic in the minds of most critics to this day. Jeremy’s haunting and memorable vocal performance painted his face in the history of emo music, while the serenity of the instrumentation embraced a new sound. Lyrically, Jeremy etches each memorable line in your head so easily that it may as well be made of wood. This “new” sound became the watermark for bands such as American Football, Empire Empire! (I was a Lonely Estate), and even Mineral. What mineral tries to do is recreate the picture SDRE left in our heads, and give it a new paintjob.
The first similarity that crosses through your mind as you listen to the album is the vocals and lyrical content. Chris Simpson sounds like a mellower toned Jeremy Enigk, as his voice is deeper and lyrics are easier to understand. With that said, his voice does improvise the lyrics which approach a less surreal look on emotional subjects. Listening to the song, “Gloria”, it clearly shows that the song structures do resemble those of an SDRE song; with a loud instrumental introduction, followed by a quiet poem of brilliant lyrics, and then a loud chorus/bridge. “Gloria’s” song structure can easily be compared to that of SDRE’s “Seven”, since the songs follow significantly similar patterns. Also, those slower parts of Diary that kept the pace of the album at a steady speed are found on The Power of Failing as well in disguise as “Dolorosa” and the first half of “Silver”. These can be compared with the slower epics on Diary such as “Song about an Angel” and “Shadows”. Another fine similarity I would like to put out there is the quality. Diary was a classic album, as it showed that each song had a reason to be on the album, same goes for The Power of Failing. Each song is well made, and attention to detail is clearly evident on each song. This is also the last similarity between the two albums, and Mineral’s side of the story is presented loudly.
The differences of the two albums are clearly identified after a few songs pass on the album, and you begin to understand that Mineral’s side is by far heavier. More cymbal crashes, more explosive choruses, and more incredible build-ups are scrawled across its pages. Diary began off a little bit misleading with “Seven”, since it was by far the heaviest song on the entire album. Mineral, however, gets progressively harder with each new song on the album. Diary on the other hand starts out with its nuclear bomb, and ends with a sparkler, while The Power of Failing is a mix of the opposite. Each song on the album has an atomic part to it, which contrasts extraordinarily with Diary’s quiet soliloquys. The drums are louder, the guitars crash harder, and the vocals yell louder from the Mineral Side. The beauty of The Power is Failing is the way that it cuts the strings of similarity, and throws them away. The album shows its own take on the genre, and amplifies the sound to withering heights.
Mineral’s “The Power of Failing”, is a breath of fresh air. While not perfect, as some songs though great; do drag on for quite a bit of time. The bass is almost inaudible on some tracks due to how loud the guitar and drums are; the band does sound great altogether though, which is what really counts. The vocal performance is outstanding, as Simpson’s loud and soft voice go along great with what mood the instruments are trying to provide. The lyrics are pure poetry, just like that of a SDRE album, and the instrumentation is superb on the drumming and guitar aspects. Mineral’s debut should not be passed off, as it proves to be another footmark in the history of emotional music.