Households, the debut album by Mindseed, a band from Calgary, Alta., is the embodiement of 90’s rock angst and crazy, awesome lyrics.
I give this album an 8/10 as the consciously clever music choices and feel good jamming is impossible not to give credit for. I originally gave it a lower score (7.5) but this album truly gets better the more you listen to it and appreciate the obvious effort in making this album more than just a run-of-the-mill debut album.
I don’t want to define Mindseed by comparing it to other bands because it truly has its own quality and mix that is original as well as catchy and well done in a way that makes you wonder why someone else hasn’t tried to make music this good before. This album is a shining star of the Calgary music scene, and should be much more than just a local phenomenon.
The album is available for sale on bandcamp and iTunes and is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.
Here is my take on each of the eight songs:
As the headlining song, Households does a good job of defining the mood and style for the rest of the album. It’s a good, introspective song that is the middle ground between the more hectic Yuuwii Choow!!, and the lighter pop style of Rush Hour Crush.
Households reminds me of the angsty light rock bands of the 90’s that were popular among many teens because of the relatable lyrics. The tone of the lead singer, Alex Labbé’s voice in the non-typical melody brings back the nostalgia of bands like blink-182 that bring similar relatable melody and introspective singing to the table.
Although this song isn’t my favourite when it comes to lyrics that really stick with you, the guitar accompaniment is catchy, atmospheric and really brings the song to life, much like many of the songs in the album. Another thing I really appreciate about this song, and most of the songs on this album, the verses change in terms of melody so the song doesn’t get boring.
This song is by far the best song on the album. The musical and vocal choices in every section of the song are expertly done in a way that changes and develops in the most interesting way possible.
Again, I am partial to songs that put the extra effort into having a second/third verse that changes in an interesting way that fits the lyrics. The lyrics of this song are creative and all over the place in a charming, funny and just YES! way. This is the song you will inevitably jam to because the driving guitar line is reminiscent of your good old hard rock/metal head banging days.
I appreciate variety when it comes to vocals, and this song has got it in the bag. Not only do you have your good old-fashioned singing, but there is vocal variety in some spoken word and sound effect vocals that are masterfully placed. This song makes it clear that Mindseed does it’s own thing in an entertaining feel good piece. I’m always up for a song where you get to sing along and say “f*ck you too”.
Rush Hour Crush:
Another highlight of the album, this song is for the people who like a lighter, more pop-style song. The best part about this song is that it tells a clear, relatable story, but still includes the personality that Mindseed offers in its other songs.
As someone who enjoys listening to music on transit, and letting the music become the forefront of thought, this song is perfect for that, although it might get you thinking about your life with the hot guy/girl sitting next to you. On top of the song, there is a music video available so check it out below.
This song is great in terms of well done singing and interesting lyrics, but leaves a little to be desired in terms of the guitar accompaniment. This song isn’t as catchy because of it, and it doesn’t keep enough unity in the melody to really be memorable.
It is certainly enjoyable to listen to and really closely scrutinize the different levels, but it doesn’t have the same pizazz and angst that the others have. Even Rush Hour Crush, which is pretty light, does have lyrics that bring in the daily struggles of the singer’s life, whereas this song is almost shallowly nostalgic.
I think this is a song you grow to love after listening to it a couple times, rather than immediately loving it like I did with Yuuwii Choow!!. This song also brings in a bit of island/reggae style accompaniment, which doesn’t really fit in with the album.
This song brings back the great, catchy guitar lines from the earlier tracks in a great way with an intriguing introduction. The highlights of this song are the lyrics in each of the verses. Clearly, everyone could take an English literary device lesson from whoever wrote this song because the creative rhymes, alliterations, and tasteful repetition develops each verse into one you really want to know, memorize, and sing along to.
The downside to this song is that chorus is a bit of a let down in comparison. It’s not catchy or unifying, so the song drifts away and seems a bit more drawn out than it should be. The ending bridge saves the song by becoming a relatable anthem that drives down the message of the song until the finish.
Crazy by Design:
Other than the pretty awesome, hard rock guitar, this song is obviously just a song about Alex’s ass.
Anyways, this is a fun song, but you have to have the questionable taste to like it. It has the same fun, jammy quality as Yuuwii Choow!! but it’s more repetitive and uses a more chant-like vocal. The chorus is memorable for an obvious reason, and incorporates a bit of the screaming vocal you hear in metal music. There is a music video available for this song as well, and it fits the totally random theme of the song. Check it out below.
I have mixed feelings about this one. The chorus is nice and the lyrics are inspirational, but they don’t follow the style or the same perspective as the rest of the album. This song is the odd man out.
This song would fit better on a different album, and in a different style of music. It is obvious that the singer isn’t passionate about what he’s singing, and for good reason since the song is apparently about the drummer’s daughter. I feel it would have been a much more successful, heart-warming song if Alex didn’t sing it (sorry Alex).
There is quite an awesome guitar solo at the end though, but it doesn’t fit to me and the song was about two minutes too long. This song would have made a good interlude, but because it was so long I had too much time to think about whether I liked it or not. Also, unless they are phenomenal, songs shouldn’t be longer than four minutes anyways.
Due to Me:
Another one of my favourites, and a great ending to the album. This song really showcases Alex’s singing ability with the chilling, angsty notes. The melody couples really well with the lyrics, which tie in with the Households theme, almost like the partner song to Households.
Another shining moment is the very guitar hero worthy riff at the end that seems to get better and more awesome as it goes on. This is one of the only songs in which I really appreciate the background vocal in the chorus, it’s a haunting interval that I really enjoy and I was really glad it was incorporated into the main vocal at the end to give it some needed variation.
It did end a bit abruptly for me, but at the same time I like that the last song on the album was the only one that ended like that, instead of having a drawn out ending like the other songs.