Mixing together the guitars of Rage Against the Machine and Sparta to make a laid-back form of punk music, Austin’s Minutes To Burn burst out onto the scene early this year. Starting off this disc with “Poison Everything”, Minutes To Burn brood every while building an energy with the powerful drum strikes by Jeremy. Continuing their deeply emotional sound with “Static”, the band further establishes themselves as a professional, solid act. However, the fact is through the early tracks on this disc, there is not a track that can really be called “stand-out”. All the tracks are perfect exercises in what is right with popular music, but do not have the flair necessary to catapult Minutes to Burn to the highest stratum. However, the talent exuded by the band might be the key to seeing their popularity blow up even farther than it has already, especially the aforementioned skin-pounding by Jeremy and the soulful guitars laid down by Todd.
The disc really starts growing on an individual around “Message”, which ties in some different sounds and an early nineties alternative style to really inculcate itself into the collective consciousness. The guitar solo laid down toward the end of the song is probably the high point of the disc – while it is not necessarily the most intricate, it acts as a growing fire – starting off kind of slow, it gradually engulfs everything in the vicinity. This early demo of the band shows an incredible amount of potential, as evidenced by the high spots in all five of the tracks, but there is room for improvement. What really holds Minutes to Burn back, at least on this recording, is the fact that their plodding tone is the same throughout the disc – they may have a faster tempo for 10 or 15 seconds, but then go back into the same contemplative tone that they have held throughout.
What might also be something to test out would be to give Jeff some audible bass lines to give the band a more complete feel – most of the time we hear either Todd’s guitars and Jeremy’s drums, but there is a gaping hole where an audible bassline would be perfect. Still, for a band that is so early in their career, this demo is a great example of showing that a band does not have to suffer through a large number of weak EPs and albums before getting famous.
Top Track: Poison Everything
Minutes to Burn – Self/Titled / 2004 Self-Released / 5 Songs / http://www.minutestoburn.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / Reviewed 30 June 2004