Minor Characters’ debut EP is a mix of Girls and Death Cab for Cutie with a little bit of blues thrown in. However, one of the best ways to judge a rock band that uses the guitar-bass-drum combination these days is to test one thing: can they write a catchy love song? It’s something that Death Cab for Cutie, Girls, Wilco and any rock ‘n’ roll artist from Elvis Presley to present-day can pull off and still make it to feel new again. After listening to “Come Break My Heart,” it’s obvious that Minor Characters are part of the club.
“Come Break My Heart” is the single from Minor Characters’ self-titled debut EP. It should and very well could be on the radio, not just for its content and poppy goodness, but also for its value. On a studio-production level, this EP is so far from demos, DIY or GarageBand. “Come Break My Heart” starts off with that classic do-woppy, almost-1950s rock song, with its easily recognizable chord structure. Instead of trying to sound retro, though, the guys in Minor Characters take the best tricks from the oldies and pump them up with contemporary rock music. However, their strongest trait is that they are not vain with their music; they don’t push it over the top.
Minor Characters don’t beat the listener over the head. They sound more Girls on “Come Break My Heart,” but not as sluggish or predictable as they can be. They break that mold by transitioning from major dynamic changes from very quiet to loud. Lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Andrew Pelletier shows his vocal range with Pavement-style “ooh oohs” throughout the song, but you’d never guess it when you hear his low voice at the start of the song.
However, what makes the songwriting on “Come Break My Heart” so good is that the band refuses to stick to a verse-chorus-verse structure, and they try to spice it up as much as they can within the confines of conventional pop music.
Not only do these songs have a little bit more kick to them, but they also sound like the band is actually having fun playing them. Every single little hook and every bass riff can be highlighted to stand out is given its spotlight. The lyrics make you actually want to fall in love and be a crazy romantic. Lines like, “I’m so tired of losing girls to Cal-i-for-nia,” and, “I could swear I was in love in Lou-i-si-ana,” are two of the catchiest lines on this entire record.
The rest of the EP is four songs that are heavy on the single-picked guitar notes. Very clean and very upfront, there aren’t any muddy basslines or heavily distorted guitar chords that add pointless noise. Even the percussion sounds crisp and sleek, which is something a lot of bands forget to pay attention to.
In an era where everybody wants their band to stand out in the blogosphere, Minor Characters have found strength in quality songwriting instead of tricks. Most successfully, the EP has a clear beginning, middle and end. Minor Characters give hope to listeners that they’ll be able to deliver on more than an album that’s just some jams thrown together in a seemingly random order. This self-titled EP is a great preview to the band, and it gives promise of a successful transition from the EP to the LP.
Minor Characters – Minor Characters tracklist:
- “If I Were You”
- “Come Break My Heart”
- “Company Car”