Asia Minor - Asia Minor (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Asia Minor

Asia Minor (2003)


If I were a good little reviewer and I been on this right when I got it, you all could have known about Asia Minor while they still existed. Alas, I am not, and alas, they broke up last November. I blew it, I know, but they still exist on record, and the record is not half bad at that.

Asia Minor was from St. Louis and existed for only two years. Their sound could probably be imagined as No Knife meets Hot Water Music, with similarities also to Frame and Canvas-era Braid and Nines and Sixes-era Mock Orange. They have angular, intricate guitar lines, but they seem to prefer staying loud all the while, and frequently change tempos and feels. The musicianship is amazing, especially the drumming, however the drummer left immediately after this record as well as one of the guitarists… and then they broke up anyway. But their playing is documented!

Melody is not really the point on this record, not to say the melodies or singing are bad, they just aren't candy-sweet. The real focus is on rhythm and textures, and they do it well. The album starts off with "Sleepin' vs. Drivin'", which lulls you into a false sense of security with its laid back feel and gentle guitars, but it soon kicks up the tempo and volume, giving you more of an idea of what's to come. "Hemodraulics" would be a favorite of mine, with the kick-ass drum beat in the beginning, and the false ending with a new tempo and key for thirty seconds, just to change tempo again- it somehow works, and it is very Mock Orange, which is good! The song ends with a scream, something rare on this album, increasing its power. A scream appears as well in "On the Way" another great tune with the memorable line "Sing me home, radio." This one reminds me of The Honor System in it's intensity as well as in the way the song morphs along the way- this band does not like to stick with one tempo in a song. This is a trait that makes this band good, however, it keeps ideas from being driven home. I had trouble remembering my favorite tracks after listening, but I remembered enjoying it all.

Another downside would be that the album flies by at 9 tracks in just over a half hour, but perhaps that leaves it with a stronger impact and no filler. But I guess the biggest downside would be that they are no longer a band, for I would have expected good things. However, their vocalist has a new band, The Iron Doves, who I will need to check out.