"The Crash And The Draw"

By Lord Randall

Reviewing a MINSK album is not a fucking party. It never has been. Ever since my first experience with the Chicago tribe (2005’s "Out Of A Center Which Is Neither Dead Nor Alive"), I feel as though I should be punching a clock somewhere instead of pressing Play on a stereo or dropping a needle. I should be shuffling from a parking lot filled with cars and trucks that first saw the light of day during the Nixon administration towards a great, fire-belching, smoke-shitting Satanic mill for a thankless 12-hour shift in a tool and die plant or lumberyard. All this, however, isn’t to say that "The Crash And The Draw" isn’t enjoyable as all Hell. It – like its predecessors – demands work, commands your full attention.

Be it in the echoes of ‘No Quarter’ in opener ‘To The Initiate’ to the just-shy-of-20-minutes sonic symphony that is ‘Onward Procession’, the quintet lets it be known in short order that, though producer du jour Sanford Parker contributed mightily to where MINSK is now, it’s doing just fine without him, thanks, and it’s ready to move beyond. Beyond what? Whom? The “what” is surely up for debate, as is where the band will take what they have created, but the “whom”, is surely the individual. Never has MINSK sounded more cohesive (reference the classic early TROUBLE sound of the riff in ‘Onward Procession III: The Soil Calls’) or more primitive (psyche-pummeling closer ‘When The Walls Fell’), meeting music on its own terms as a unit, not a cadre of contributing entities. Something is being channeled here, that’s for damn sure.

As to what? Doesn’t matter. "The Crash And The Draw" will speak to you where you are, leading you to sonic vistas rarely plumbed comfortably. Another vital experience from a band that refuses to be simple background music.