It's rare for me to review hardcore punk. It's one of those genres I always enjoy live but don't actually listen to that much. Because of this I'm always pretty apprehensive about reviewing hardcore releases and making sure I do them justice but I really enjoyed Where The Buses Don't Come by Canadian band The Bare Minimum, so just had to give it a go. Where The Buses Don't Come was released in November 2018 and features seven tracks in a blistering thirteen minutes, as you would expect from a hardcore release.
The album begins with a song named Safe Bet that isn't even a minute long. It's a relentless fifty-eight seconds in which The Bare Minimum play a song about the monotony of everyday life. The song is a whirlwind of fury that will have a lot of people really relating to the track's subject matter. I really enjoyed the intro on the next song, Outdoor Cat. The combination of the short but memorable guitar riff and some rapid fire drum rolls fill the song with this fierce energy immediately. From there we are treated to a track that looks at life in the big city and how it's all that it's made up to be. After a super fast start, the song soon progresses into more of a slower paced almost reggae style that did take me by surprise. The song is finished in the same way that it began with that beaut of guitar riff and those rapid fire drum rolls. The third rack, Hollow Animals, feels more like a metal track than a hardcore one. Simplicity is the key – it doesn't over complicate itself and that's what really drew me in. It allows the listener time to breathe while the band are still able to get their message across. In this instance, the band are singing about how living life in a self centred way will not make you feel whole and how you can be dropped by someone just as quickly as they pick you up. Trainwreck sees The Bare Minimum pick things back up with what is probably my favourite song on the album. The vocal is at its harshest and this really adds some extra emotion to the song. It's about your life being an absolute mess and feeling like you're right at the bottom of society. Lyrically it's pretty hard hitting, the opening two lines for example are "sex, drugs and nothing else, you were looting, I was rotting on the shelf".
The fifth song on the album is titled Safety Pin. This track sees The Bare Minimum go back to more of a metal sound and really allows the band to show off some incredible skill with their instruments, particularly on guitar. There's some mad good guitar parts on Safety Pin. I'm also so impressed with the vocal display on the track, they soar and add a great amount of character to the song. The penultimate song on Where The Buses Don't Come is named Broad Daylight. The beginning of the song sees The Bare Minimum again showcasing what great musicians they are, with the guitars really ripping. The vocals are punchy and are brilliantly interlaced with the music. Broad Daylight is about falling down the wrong path, heading towards a life of serious crime and wasting your life because of it. The chorus is brilliantly catchy. Repeating "you line 'em up, I'll shoot 'em down" over and over again. The final song is the almost three minute long Punk Rock Is A Pyramid Scheme. On this track The Bare Minimum go all hair metal on us. It's a more methodical song that goes along with a whole lot of thunder. The song feels like a big middle finger to a potential punk rock hierarchy with The Bare Minimum suggesting that all bands in the scene should all be treated on the same level. Can't say that I disagree with this. This is a big way to finish the album.
This is one of the most interesting hardcore albums I've heard in a while, especially as it shows a lot more variety than you would expect from an album in the genre. I love that The Bare Minimum aren't afraid to do things a little different and that's a big reason I enjoyed Where The Buses Don't Come.
Stream and download Where The Buses Don't Come here: https://thebareminimumband.bandcamp.com/
Like The Bare Minimum here: https://www.facebook.com/thebareminimum/
This review was written by Colin Clark.