i got nowhere to go, and my mind works kinda slow


The Mineral Kings


As I originally just reviewed their second album (in which I include the basic bio/my thoughts-type stuff), I'll take this opportunity to correct a couple factual errors:

1. Carv Tefft is in fact the lead singer's real name. I think that's grounds for empancipation in some states. Art Forte is in fact the only pseudonym in the band.

2. They sent me their first album too, so no, they're not really cheapskates.

Also, once again allow me to plug their website: www.mineralkings.com, where you can get Metropolis. And you should, because you trust me, right?

lineup: Art Forte (guitar, bass, keyboards, backing vocals, etc), Tony Morosini (drums, guitar), Carv Tefft (lead vocals).

review index: Atomic Numbers / Metropolis

missing albums: none

Atomic Numbers - 2000

Rating: **1/2
Best songs: For Granted, October, Cabo
Worst songs: Find a Better Way, One and One, Realize, Fallin' Down


I'm not one to complain...

Okay, you can stop laughing now. The first album by rock and roll combo the Mineral Kings isn't that good. I realize it's not always easy for people to take criticism, and I always try to be gentle with my bribery reviews, because I'm talkin' 'bout actual people and not rock stars, but I can't lie and say this is a-ok when my senses detect undesireable elements in the music. To whit: the classy production, which I enjoyed on Metropolis, is not present. I presume they recorded that album in an actual studio. This was done on a digital 8-track of the sort any shmoe can buy at Guitar Center. It's not that bad, but the sound quality is a great deal less precise and the mix is a lot more muddy. I am also totally not in love with the tiresome slapback echo effect they put on nearly all the vocals.

The songs are the other problem I have with this album. Whereas Metropolis had a giant bag of great riffs, catchy melodies and classy harmonies, this is um...not quite that. Granted, the album kicks off with an incredible anthemic song, "For Granted", and I quite like both "October" (awkward chorus and all; thankfully not a rip-off of that U2 song) and "Cabo" (echoey vocals or not, that's a nice piece of songwriting). The rest...I'm not that wild about. There could very well be good songs in here, and better production could make a world of difference, but this is what we got. So that, as they say, is that. I'm glad they got their act together so quickly, though.

Metropolis - 2002

Rating: ****1/2
Best songs: Scared to Death, Vanish, Sweet, The Prize
Worst songs: A Lot Like You


Special note (12.14.02): I'm too lazy to rewrite this stuff, so here's my original review, when I just had album #2. And I'm upping the rating to a staggering 4 1/2 stars, because I just cannot get these songs out of my head.

The bribery review is a wonderful thing. Everybody wins -- I get free music, the band gets free publicity, and the reader...well, almost everybody wins, anyway. Today's installment is from the Mineral Kings, a San Francisco-based trio consisting of Carv Tefft (vocals, not his real name), Tony Morosini (drums, guitars, his real name -- or so he wants us to believe), and Art Forte (uh...most everything else). This album is their second (bah, cheapskates -- didn't even send me the other one!), and well, I must say it's a good one. I must admit I'm often worried when I get something to listen to, but don't know what the hell it's gonna sound like. I was afraid this was going to be some vapid rap-metal or lame Dave Matthews knockoff. Of course, I should've realized that anyone that reads this site would know better than to send something like that to me, because this is neither. What is it? Oh, I'm getting to that, sweetcheeks.

This is the genre I like to refer to as guitar-pop. Because it's got...guitars...and it's...poppy...y'see... *cough* Anyway, I'm floored. Or at least impressed. Point one: There's actual production! Y'know, most of your garage/amateur/semi-pro/whatever bands just stick a tape in the 4-track and throw up a couple mics or whatever. This was actually done in a real studio, and it shows -- the production is very clean in a 90s (yes, I know what year it is, but 00s just looks moronic) way, but not sterile or dynamically-compressed-to-hell. The musicianship is nothing to faint at, but very solid, and they do come up with some interesting things to do on their instruments instead of just whanging at chords the whole 35 minutes. Did I mention this is a short album? That's a good thing. Also, I must say that Carv has a very nice voice -- though it's not very subtle at times, it's very strong, and reminds me of Michael Hutchence.

Can you believe I made it two paragraphs without mentioning a single song? Well, time to break that streak. Hooks abound on the dynamic tour-de-force that is "Scared to Death", and "Sweet" is indeed sweet. (Insert sound of readers hitting reviewer with Nerf bats for being so lame with words here) I won't bug you with the entire album, but "Vanish" is a great example of Carv's pipes in action, and "Good Good Man" seems to be a humorous parody of cock-rock, complete with a crunched-up little metal riff. Truth be told, the only song I'm down on is "A Lot Like You", which revolves around the irritatingly-melodicized phrase "when Jesus comes, tell him for me". The majority of the album is a well-written set of catchy guitar-driven tunes. (There you go, a quote for your press kit, guys.) In conclusion, great jorb.

For more information on this band, and to find out how to get your very own copy of Metropolis, point your browser towards www.mineralkings.com. It receives the Cole Reviews Seal of Bribery Approval.

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