Review Summary: Minuteman for the Moment is a superb blend of various influences into one big chaotic post-hardcore smoothie.It’s Glassjaw in a head-on tour van collision with UneXpect, it’s Mike Patton getting a hold of Relationship of Command’s mixing tapes, it’s…
Look What I Did
Minuteman For The Moment
Upon my first visit to the band’s MySpace (how I discover 1/4th of my music) and letting The Soiree
start playing, several thoughts raced through my mind.
“This is pretty catchy. Cool.”
“This is pretty scary…. Cool"”
“Is that guy wearing a leopard skin thong"!”
Aside from the last one, these sum up the music of Look What I Did’s Minuteman For The Moment.
The music is a successful blend of post-hardcore, progressive rock, and metal, with a little bit of jazz fusion influence to create one of the most unique musical experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure to behold. The instrumentation is quite technical, but it still evens out the technicality with pure melody and catchiness to a point where it creates the perfect balance. The singing reflects a mind of insanity, with Barry often changing from singing to yelling to a spoken word rant of a madman. After repeated listens of this album, I still can’t find a single bad song. While a few select songs stand out more than the others, they’re all special in their own rights. The Soiree
could easily be the album’s single due to it’s catchiness. The FOX Eats TV Ishmael
shines with its obvious jazz influences. Cupid Full Of Eros
dishes out the mosh with its metal onslaught. While every track shows different elements, they all stick to their post-hardcore roots, and do so without coming off sounding cheesy.
I often thought that an instruments section in an album review was ridiculous, but I find it necessary for this. The way they come together on this album is very odd, but it works. First, I’ll start with the drumming, the base of all the madness that is Minuteman for the Moment
. Omen is probably one of the greatest drummers of the genre. His style wouldn’t be out of place in a metal outfit. He throws down rapid machinegun double-bass patterns all over the album, and it couldn’t have been executed better. For a nice demonstration of his drumming prowess, check out his rapid-fire double-bass throughout Cupid Full of Eros
Another notable mention is his ability to keep odd time-signatures and polyrhythm, a unique facet that doesn’t come into play regularly within the post-hardcore genre. Following the drumming, the bass is equally impressive. Coughlin is heard at all times, playing slick and unique lines under the guitar. Occasionally, he’ll throw in a few slaps and pops, another unorthodox feature in genre. Last, but certainly not least, the guitars provide a wide array of inventive riffs. The method in which the guitars are used are similar to that with At The Drive-in. One guitar plays an interesting riff while the other plays a more melodic lead over the top. However, here the second guitar here plays it’s lead for the purpose of creating a dense atmosphere. In Minuteman for the Moment
during the chorus, one plays a low, chugging rhythm while the other plays a distant, dark lead riff.
The man in the thong…
Barry Donegan’s vocal delivery deserves a section of its own. His vocals cover a massive span of sounds, including his unique ability to sound almost multi-personality. While half the time he’s yelling and screaming his lungs out, the other half he’s singing or going off on a tangent with spoken(") word. His singing voice is oddly satisfying. Even though his voice slightly resembles that of Dexter Holland of The Offspring, he’s got a much more versatile range. Occasionally he’ll sing in a Mike Patton-ish dramatic fashion.
Donegan’s lyrics are satirical and sarcastic views on social issues. On the aptly titled The FOX Eats TV Ishmael
, he sings the lines “Your show’s a porno that Cain wouldn’t jerk to!”
in a voice that you might here a comedian use when acting out a dumbass. This is open to your own interpretation… A fantastic example of his multiple personality singing can be found in Lightning Bugs
In a raucous, loud scream, Barry proclaims the lines:
” In a jar
With no breathing holes
You egotistical son of a bitch
This is for your amusement”
Right after this, he calmly croons in a sing-song voice:
“But I do it too
I do it too, yeah"
Other times, it seems as if Donegan just yells at the listener in a stream-of-consciousness style. I’m not quite sure if these are for a comical effect (who knows with his stage antics) or not, but surprisingly, they don’t seem out of place. During the post-chorus of The Soiree
, he rants in a chaotic voice “What are we supposed to do until then"! Seriously!” Normally, I wouldn’t want to listen to somebody whine and complain, but he does it so well (lol). He carries an identical insanity about him that Mike Patton has, except where Patton’s is a “mad scientist” craziness, Donegan’s is a “guy-you-find-in-the-white-room-with-padded-walls-drawing-perfect-circles-with-his-toes.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Now that I’ve spent all this time simply talking about the instruments and singing…
We’re now at the songs themselves. It is really difficult to describe each individual track. They’re a mix of the previously mentioned influences, but each track excels mostly in just one of those (with post-hardcore always in the mix). The FOX Eats TV Ishmael
is a jazzy tune with catchy vocals, Appomattox Whore House
and Cupid Full of Eros
are dominantly metal, and the rest are combinations of the two with extremely strong progressive rock influence. All songs experiment with strange time signatures and accomplish covering a lot of ground in a short period of time. Most make you want to get up and dance, but I’m still not sure how one would dance to 49/78 or whatever they play (I suck at these things). Zanzibar II: Sasha and Sebastian
is a continuation of a multiple part series of a story I still have yet to figure out, and it features the nice addition of female vocals. They’re nothing special, but they are a welcome change to the spiraling insanity. It’s also too bad that this track features one of the only few displeasing sections I can find on the album: The song falls apart with no real end, and ends up just being a choir of people screaming at each other.
In conclusion, Minuteman for the Moment
is certainly… different. Some moments make you want to headbang, some make you want to dance, and others just confuse you to the point you’re wondering what the hell’s going on, and why the last 2 minutes of the album are just several people screaming. When I look deeply into the album, it’s still relatively difficult to find a single flaw, yet I still wouldn’t categorize this album as a classic. The pros and cons are as follows…
- Excellent instrumentation without becoming overly technical
- Surprisingly catchy for it’s extreme weirdness
- Unique vocals
- Ultimately original
– The vocals may be a turn off to some
- Occasionally hard to make it through the entire album in one sitting
Recommended Tracks – The Soiree, Benevolesaurus Rex, Cupid Full of Eros, Appotomax Whore House
I’m sorry for this rather awkward review, as I couldn’t find an effective way to tackle this album.