November 13, 2017
Last month, Charlotte-based emo four-piece, Mineral Girls, released a stunning new full-length album entitled this is the last time every time. It’s been two years since their last album, Cozy Body, and the growth this band has undergone is palpable from the moment the new record begins. An automated voice sneaks onto your speakers demanding, “let’s talk about us,” (the title of the record’s single) before launching right into the crunching rhythm, plucked melody, and raw vocals that Mineral Girls are known for in Charlotte music.
From there it becomes clear that, while the new material sounds fresh and invigorating, Brett Green, the core lyricist for the band, has retained the best parts of older material; the almost unnerving vulnerability that each song brings to the table. With lyrics like, “after all, I’m not really trying to do any better, I’m just trying to make it look I am,” it seems that Green has more to say about learning, growing, and failing. Further lyrics from the record take a look into the band’s poetic side, with songs weaving in and out of abstract imagery and the realities of day-to-day life. Nonetheless, they stay on brand with themes of nihilism, existential dread, and ideas on the grand scheme of life and the universe.
Musically, the record stands as a daring venture for Mineral Girls. Green expressed this record took on a different writing process than past material: “All of the previous Mineral Girls releases were mostly songs I had written beforehand and brought to the band, whereas this new record was pretty much written entirely collaboratively. I took a few steps back and we all talked about most every aspect of all the songs [together].”
The collaboration that Green touches on is clear on the record. The songs on this is the last time every time sound like they were written from multiple perspectives; they were mulled over, scrapped, rewritten, re-scrapped, and finalized by a group of people with different ideas. The result of that change in dynamic has produced a record that stands its ground in the original Mineral Girls sound, but takes on bold risks, reaching into unexplored sonic territory for inspiration. It’s evident with the harsh aggressiveness of “The Bruise on We” or the bongo drums and shredding bass riff that mark the intro to “Bridge Over What.” These are sounds that listeners have never gotten a taste of on past material, and they’re shining examples of the band’s development between their first record and now.
Mineral Girls are doing something different in a genre now inundated with the same twelve-song-post-breakup-inspired records that everyone has become so painfully accustomed to in this new wave of emo music. That alone should be appreciated on top of the fact that these songs are genuinely well crafted, meaningful, and self-reflective to an uncomfortable degree. If you’ve been looking for something to change up your perception of emo in 2017, you’ll find it in this is the last time every time.
Catch the Mineral Girls at Petra’s on Monday, December 12.