Canada is a punk rock band making factory at the moment. It seems like every other week I'm reviewing another band from Montreal or Vancouver or Toronto or anywhere else in Canada. This time it's The Bare Minimum from Toronto who release a brand new album named Sink To The Top on March 28th.
Sink To The Top starts with the song Loaded Dice. From the outset there is an obvious blending of the punk rock and metal genres that should make this a hard and ferocious listen. Loaded Dice is a relentless barrage of angry punk rock talking about the odds always being stacked against you when it comes with dealing with "the man." The second track, Last Call, has a great guitar riff to open the song. It got me nodding my head and tapping my foot from the beginning. The vocal delivery on the track is fast paced and adds so much energy to the track. There is a great sense of the 90s melodic punk sound that I loved so much on Last Call that it instantly makes me love the song. It's about making that make or break decision in your life that could change everything. Garbage Lungs in nowhere near as hard hitting as the first two tracks. Instead The Bare Minimum switch to a more funky, danceable beat but keeping with the heaviness of their sound. So in short, it's heavy funk - in my mind at least. This is one hell of a song that will keep you hooked from the first second to the last. The melody, the tempo, the pacing are all excellent! The fourth song is named Pyyrhic Victory. The fast paced anger and intensity of the opening two songs returns here It's a song about struggling to get over a past lover and how no matter what you try and do "Everything In Life Comes Back To You."
Sink To The Top's fifth song is named Conspiracy. With that title I'm sure you can have a guess what the track is about - conspiracy theories. It feels like the band are poking a little bit of fun at conspiracy theorists with lyrics such as "I'm Pretty Sure That The Pyramids Were Put There By Aliens, Fossils Were Found Of Man Like Amphibians." It's a fast and fun punk rock jam that will get a crowd singing along and smiling away in no time at all. The sixth song, Comfortable Cages, could be my favourite song on the album. There is an uplifting quality about the song - I like when my punk rock lifts me up (figuratively, not literally, as I'm not a fan of being crowd surfed). One verse in particular really stood out on Comfortable Cages, "When The Days Start To Feel Like Defeat, Bruised On Your Soul, Scar You Can't See, Remember The Pain, Forget That You're Free, I Only Remember That We Die." I realise that this doesn't sound especially uplifting but the way in which is delivered is near on perfect. The Only Thing You Can Keep is a shorter track that hits you like a bullet. It seemingly comes out of nowhere, hits you and is gone again before you know what's happened. Everything in this track is done at 100mph, it's just an unstoppable assault of hardcore punk rock. This is followed up by Please Sir, I Want Some More. Here The Bare Minimum revert back to a sound that focuses more on melody rather than ferocity. As much as I enjoy a fast hardcore track, I think this is where The Bare Minimum are at their very best. Please Sir, I Want Some More is about being stuck in a life that you don't want to be part of and wanting more. The lyrics "Do Not Grow, Do Not Collect, Do Not Grow, Do Not Reflect" really stood out to me.
The ninth song on Sink To The Top is Coward Heart. Sticking with the melodic style, this song made me realise just what a strong vocalist the lead singer of The Bare Minimum is. I can't think of many singers in the world of punk rock that sing anywhere near as well as this. Coward Heart is about not being strong enough to cope when times become tough. Tourist follows on and the intensity levels are raised again. This is a mosh pit inducing song if ever there was one. There is a lot of genre crossover appeal in the song as well - there's an energy to keep punk fans happy, the anger for the metal kids and I'm sure all the hardcore screamo kids will love the primal screams that happen throughout the duration of the track. The penultimate song on Sink To The Top is named Felt Like An Actor. Here The Bare Minimum really show off their ability as musicians, particularly towards the end of the song with and an extended musical outro. You think that it's all a build to one last big finale for the song but it in fact brings us to the end of the song. The final track on the album was a nice surprise with an acoustic led track. This was really something that I wasn't expecting and a brilliant change of pace. It is named History Is Small and is a great piece of sing-a-long punk rock. The type that gets you arm in arm with a stranger at a gig whilst you sing with the band at the top of your voice. I bloody love it.
Sink To The Top is another top quality album from another top quality Canadian band. The Bare Minimum have written and recorded an album with as much intensity as it has melody. It will exhaust you but also leave you wanting much more!
Stream and download Sink To The Top here: https://thebareminimumband.bandcamp.com/
Like The Bare Minimum here: https://www.facebook.com/thebareminimum/