Sorry for the unexpected disappearance. Never fear, RFR is back! Here goes...
Where: The Annex
Like many young bands, Miniboone - whom I first reviewed back in November - is still finding their identity, and since that review in November, the band has completely reinvented their sound, inverting completely the ratio of experimental punk to pop. While in November, the band was one big noise, with guttural screams outnumbering pop hooks, the band now has extensive melodies and rhythmic grooves.
Despite reinventing themselves as a pop band, however, Miniboone remains (for better or worse) at the edge. "For worse" because the compositions are rather unwieldy and epic. The structural complexity is actually well-used and the songs are relatively cohesive for their length. But it goes a little too far on too many songs for my taste, making the set too weighty to be as fun as the melodies imply.
"For better," though, because the band is interesting and doesn't sound quite like anyone else. Part of the new melodiousness comes from the increasing proportion of lead vocal duties assigned to Craig Barnes. He is more of a singer, less of a shouter, than some of his bandmates. His voice also gives the music some of its unique character, tending towards a drama not found in most post-80's pop.
Though I was disappointed by the relative calm of the band's new sound, there are still hints of the band's old punk side too. It's a bit unkempt for grooving pop and it's certainly noisy. There are also the delightfully ridiculous lyrics, belted out with surprising conviction, and the bodily frenzy of the band's delivery. Though they've softened up their approach, there's a current of unabashed creativity that will keep Miniboone noteworthy no matter in what genre they eventually land.