Album Review: Minor Plains

Minor Plains
Starfish Prime
Self Released

“This isn’t what you twist your hips to.”
The Mars Volta, Fall of Troy (r.i.p.), Minus the Bear, all have heard that accusation. And while it does matter, that hardly means those bands, Minor Plains, are unable to move you elsewhere. An affinity for technicality here is apparent—yes, as it serves a challenge with the listener. Track one opens like Pinback (I’m talkin’ bass tone) and scales then into a series of guitar melodies. Each note coming as lift, calculated turns of musical intellect. And it’s excellent. But as plenty of ampage pushes through Astrowhale, the second track of three, at parts as it progresses, I’m left just a little bit empty. Like the abandon of a Friday afternoon when school let out: swinging sky-high but alone, in the center of playground. The sun is shining and the wind is blowing, but shucks ya know, I’d love for a friend’s company.
Minor Plains don’t use a singer. And if anything, this is to be applauded because at once, it makes each member’s duties all the more difficult. Which is double edged, for sure, as seen in track three. The bass is in lock with the guitar, yet we become susceptible to newfound blank air, space in between so to speak. What’s reassuring however is that that three-piece, Wild Throne (formerly Dog Shredder), who call Bellingham home, found their stride recently with a three-song EP. They do use a singer, but, to regurgitate an adage: if they can find success, shit, man, why can’t Minor Plains?
It follows, that Starfish Prime shines largely through potential. Which is fine: They’re young and as their instrumental prowess seasons, with future releases I look forward to this band not compensating for what they don’t have, but capitalizing on what it can do for their creative edge. Just because Minor Plains aren’t in the big leagues should not mean that they still can’t titillate.
–Harrison Kadwit