Chris Simpson, mastermind of The Gloria Record, started out as the lead singer of everyone’s favorite Sunny Day Real Estate tribute band (fight me). When Mineral broke up, he grabbed a couple guys and started making the same sort of slow, cascading guitar music.
Their self-titled debut felt like a natural progression from EndSerenading (itself the natural progression between LP2 and How it Feels to be Something On. Again, fight me), and Simpson’s voice stretched and lilts the same way as the guitars.
Start Here, on the other hand, is strangely accessible.
Instead of the mid-90s arpeggiated guitars that littered all of Simpson’s projects before, Start Here is a highly produced indie album. There are synthesizers and pianos and the occasional string section. The guitars are stadium-sized and play soaring leads over cinematic indie power ballads.
No doubt, Start Here was decried as a sell out record by the purists. But for those of us who don’t mind artistic progression, Start Here is one of the finest statements to ever come out of the emo scene.
From the one-two punch of the stellar synth title track and epic “Good Morning, Providence” to the punk-to-piano “Cinema Air” or power ballad “I was Born in Omaha” to the atmospheric “Ascension Song” to the closing throes of “Ambulance,” this entire album is gold.
Also, I love Mineral, but you know I’m right.