Following up what was my #1 record of the year last year, Minus Story recently released an EP titled Heaven and Hell on Jagjaguwar. Six tracks and five songs, this EP contains four Minus Story songs, one Misfits cover, and one ghost story.
The title track starts the record off in a very good way. Right away you'll notice the lack of the "Wall of Crap" sound that was ever so present on their last full length, The Captain is Dead, Let the Drum Corpse Dance. Instead is much more crisp production that works very well. This track is relatively laid back and is one of the better songs I think they have ever written.
"Suffer by Yourself" is a track that shows a bit more of a new side to Minus Story. Harmonica is prominently featured throughout the song and has a bit of an alt-country feel to the whole thing. The vocals on it almost sound like they are right from the last Unicorns' full length, which isn't a bad thing at all. Jordan still has a very unique voice that stands out on its own.
"Misery is a Ship" closes out the Minus Story songs with a very solemn approach. Sounding a bit like a death march, it's backed by drums that are played with great remorse and horns that just add to the whole eerie feeling of the affair. The song closes out with a vocal melody that also sounds very much like something The Unicorns would have done.
To be honest, I think there is only one other time I've heard a band cover the Misfits and just been baffled on how different it sounds. That would be when Atom and His Package covered "Where Eagles Dare." Minus Story cover "Hybrid Moments" and put the cutesiest spin on it and make it their own song. Hearing them yell out "IN HYBRID MOMENTS" will put the biggest smile on the face on the angriest of people.
I am not so sure that this is as good as the full length that precedes this. There is a lot of great songwriting moments but, the "Wall of Crap" production is sorely missed in some spots. It helped give the band a lot of charm and while the production here is really nice, sometimes it's a little too nice. Other than that, this EP is incredibly solid and will have to tide you over until their new full length comes out in the fall.