Review Summary: a life of fleeting moments of sufficiencyNot Enough
’s agitation is immediately apparent, a constant rumination that finds itself being expressed through the signature syncopations and fleeting, ever-shifting rhythms of math rock. The neuroticism on display here is rather pretty, even as it bears the weight of guilt and self-loathing — major-7th chords deftly weaving their way through dense waters, that usual math-y emo shimmer muted by dark blues and a sense of gnawing unease. On one hand, the album seems to draw from the personal experiences of guitarist/vocalist Alex De Los Santos, who underwent a car accident during the process of creating Not Enough
; on the other hand, it’s also a poignant case study into that crushing mixture of listlessness and restlessness which often accompanies depressive states.
It’s not that Minuano were ever a cheery band; their previous release, the EP II
, was filled with taut grooves and cool glances, but Not Enough
fully drops the front and sees the band transitioning from calculated detachment to genuine distress. There’s a narrative arc in the album that begins at the peak of a breakdown (as implied by opener “The Wave Crests”); in the first half of Not Enough
, nervous energy characterizes the rapid, dance-like passages in “Atelophobia” and the jerky chants of “just can’t seem to shake these voices in my head” in “Voices”. “Linger”, through moments of atmospheric drift and falsetto backing vocals, is blunt about compulsive thinking and self-harm: “Was it the dropping of the glass / Or the blood on the floor [...] Don't stop to think / Or you'll over think”; it’s effectively pillowy dreaminess as dissociation.
“The Wave Break” retrospectively reveals a jump-starting moment in the narrative: “I write to get well / Until another car crash / Kick through windshield / Then write to get back home”. The song’s slow, percussion-less build-up reminds me of early Modest Mouse, actually — think “Medication”: a wistful, bittersweet warmth that conveys the uneasy co-existence of perseverance and numbness. As “The Wave Break” breaks out into a gallop, that restless energy has been converted into a bit of motivation, the song ending with guarded optimism: “So I'm asking why do we wait for a light for some summer change / So I'll look inside for a change to try and redefine this mental ache”. It’s representative of the tonal shift that takes place in the closer — that bending of light which subtly re-characterizes, re-asserts the other side of the coin.