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Much of the music that I discovered that’s defined me came from driving around and conversing with a musical aficionado coworker and friend of mine. We no longer work our weekend retail jobs together, but when we had spare time to chat, there was rarely ever a time when we did not discuss new records and recommend each other bands. We both listened to similar types of music, yet at the same time, we were in different worlds too. There were very few other people we could properly talk about these things with, so we always took every opportunity to expose the other to different bands in genres we may not be the most familiar with. One such band that was often brought up, at least to me, was Mineral.
Known far and wide for their two now-classic LPs – ‘The Power of Failing‘ (1997) and ‘EndSerenading‘ (1998) – they’re as important an act for rock/indie/emo music as American Football and The Get Up Kids, or even Jets To Brazil and Sunny Day Real Estate. Their impact and legacy really cannot be understated. Personally, I’ve heard songs by them here and there over the years, but I never truly gave them a deep dive, as they broke up in ’98, with a short-lived stint in 2014. In not wanting that empty feeling of listening to bands only to discover they broke up knowing there’d be no new music, I mostly passed them up at first. Silly me, right? As that’s no longer the case with Mineral. After 25 years as a band, their first new release in two decades comes in the form of a new two-track EP, ‘One Day When We Are Young: Mineral at 25‘. With just being two songs and a total runtime of 12:42, we can all finally dive into some new music from this glorious emo/alternative Texan outfit.
Following my trip through opener ‘Aurora‘, I was instantly and completely captivated by the song’s warmth and instrumental depth. Said instrumentation isn’t all that complicated, it’s just so layered and well-written; so many little things going on at once that I have to sit down with it multiple times to appreciate every detail. The most powerful thing about these two tracks is the clarity of each and every instrument – producer/engineer Dave Trumfio did an amazing job capturing Mineral at their best and cleanest here.
For instance, there are few things as satisfying to me as being able to follow along with a song’s bass guitar work; in it being audible and not washed away by other parts. In ‘Aurora‘, during one listen I’ll float by nicely with the glistening lead guitar melodies and arpeggios from guitarist Scott McCarver. Then, on other listens, I’ll hone in on the solid, supporting four-stringed work provided by bassist Jeremy Gonzalez. Or I may even direct my attention to the track’s poetic, detailed lyrics showing opposite ends of human life that are ultimately aiming for the same goal. Yet no matter which piece of this gorgeous puzzle I or you may focus on, the track is still the very definition of peaceful and relaxing. It’s a musical goldmine to sift through.
When the song’s chorus hits, it hits hard, with thicker distortion and other effects overwhelming the listener with an impressive wall of sound quality. The last chorus arrives in powerful form, with tremolo guitars moving in the background as you can still perfectly make out the bass rumbling in the foreground. Again, it astounds me how clear the bass (and every other element) is in the mix with everything that’s going on melodically and rhythmically. Clocking in just past the eight-minute mark, the whole piece just consumes you. It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s as long as it actually is, a real testament to the engaging song-writing that Mineral so naturally possess. After all, the name Aurora means ‘dawn’ and that’s what this track is all about lyrically – a new dawn occurring, a new day rising. If that’s not fitting for Mineral’s return to getting back up on the horse, then I don’t know what is.
The second and final track here, ‘Your Body is the World‘, from where the title of this release comes from, is a continuation of ‘Aurora‘. Although half the length it is neither any less blissful or any lesser. Unlike the first track, this second cut is less focused on the band’s airy, atmospheric, slower-build quality and goes in harder towards the heavier sound found near the end of ‘Aurora‘. It gets to the point quicker, is what I’m saying.
Like the preceding track, ‘Your Body…‘ is vibrant, filled with deep-running trenches of emotion in both the instruments and vocals; both feeling alive and youthful, yet also defiant that age and time will not wither them when, sadly, that is always the case with human beings. One of my favourite things about this track is that the bass becomes the lead part in the verses while the guitars help provide the rhythm. A simple yet effective compositional switcheroo. Here, Mineral certainly show everyone what a great bass movement can provide when implemented correctly. In fact, Mineral just do a fantastic job at making sure every component of their music remains clear, clean, well-utilized, and never once wasted. Which is perhaps why these two new songs stand so damn tall. 25 years in, most other bands their age wish they were still making great music like this.
Although only two-tracks, the heavy replay nature of ‘One Day When We Are Young’ more than makes up for its short runtime. It sounds exactly like Mineral should, without ever being cheap or shallow. It feels old and new but in the best possible way. Mineral create such lush landscapes with their guitar layering, tight rhythm sections, and the impassioned vocal twang of frontman Chris Simpson. I’m extremely pleased with the lack of oversaturated guitar effects that often override the bass and render it inaudible. Everything is just so well-balanced and well-arranged here. In being someone who’s not the biggest emo or indie-rock partaker, Mineral has pulled me right in with their much-welcomed comeback. Given this EP’s release now in January 2019, one can only safely guess that new music is on the horizon. Here’s to the future of Mineral, whatever it may hold.
2. Your Body is the World
‘One Day When We Are Young: Mineral at 25’ is out now.