Monday, November 24, 2008

Live: Miniboone

When: 11/21
Where: The Charleston

So this past Friday night, I happened to catch the first show of a new band called Miniboone. Miniboone are an college-nerd-looking quartet, who play intellectual, aggressive, experimental pop. The best way I could describe the band is to say that it's like if the Minutemen and June of 44 formed a hybrid and then drank several gallons of espresso - but that probably doesn't mean anything to you because you probably have no idea who June of 44 were, and that's criminal - but it's not a crime we have time to prosecute in this particular post.

So I'll just say Miniboone play fractured, dissonant, noisy music that's guaranteed to repel most casual listeners. But this isn't a band vying for radio play, it's a band seeking to stretch the boundaries of what pop music can be. And in that endeavour, they succeed. The rhythmic complexity reminded me of early 1990's Louisville math rock (Slint, Rodan, Gastr del Sol), with always-changing time signatures and uneven, asymmetrical phrases. But compared to these meandering experimental bands, Miniboone plays fast-burning, pointed songs you'll have to concentrate to keep up with. Luckily, their animated, jumpy performance makes paying attention easy.

My only complaint about the band is that they are little over-intellectual (even their name is an obscure science reference) and I couldn't really connect with them on an emotional level. Even in fun and humorous experimental music, the ultimate purpose should be beauty and self-expression. This came through in some of Miniboone's songs, but others seemed to get too caught up in their own cerebral underpinnings to really reach a deeper level.

But I'd say, keep an eye on this band - it's a rare group that's this creative and original from their very first show.

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