Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Minotaurs: "New Believers" (album review)

New Believers is the stellar new album from Toronto's Minotaurs.  This, the band's sophomore album, hit the streets today.

The band's sound is large.  They are a large collaborative collective with an improvisational feel, which immediately makes the brain skip to thoughts of Broken Social Scene.  Of course, Broken Social Scene was never quite this jazzy or Afro-influenced.

New Believers is a record that both surrounds you and gets you moving.  The album kicks off with the title track, a number which boasts a discombobulated ska rhythm punctuated by a vivid horns section.  It's the danceable "Flashbulb", with a sultry seductive aura, that will truly inspire you to shake something.

The band never lets "Split The Atom" roll out of control as it balls up and gains momentum.  The kinetic sound of "Make Some Noise" is all-encompassing.  "Strange Fire" features the record's sharpest hook, as well as the tough-yet-cutesy sounds of Ohbijou's Casey Macija.

"Open The Doors" is a compelling and track, largely due to the vocal contributions of Sarah Harmer, as long as you don't pay too much attention to the lyrics.  Those are the biggest flaw in the record.  There's a naive and simplistic politics to the songs.  Fortunately, the arrangements are strong enough to keep you from analyzing the words too closely.

That said, New Believers is a richly-textured and expertly-executed album which makes one muse aloud if Minotaurs can actually be the heirs-apparent to the legendary Broken Social Scene.

Minotaurs play Tranzac in Toronto on January 26th.

Best tracks: "Open The Doors", "Strange Fire"

Track listing for New Believers:
  • New Believers
  • Make Some Noise
  • Split the Atom
  • Flashbulb
  • Open the Doors
  • Strange Fire
  • Sharper Knife
  • Windchimes In the Evening

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