April is going to kill me. Writing a review of a band for which a friend — April, in this case — is a self-proclaimed “superfan” can be a treacherous endeavor. Anything less than a fawning description of the intimate religious experience you had listening to the album — during which you had two orgasms and one surreal conversation with the Virgin Mary about waffle irons — will be a total betrayal. Not to say there is anything wrong with the Minus Story’s Heaven and Hell EP. It’s decent. It’s just not … all that.
What it is — pure and simple — is filler. Four originals and a Misfits cover (plus one “ghost story” — riiiiight) to appease the masses between last year’s widely lauded The Captain Is Dead, Let the Drum Corpse Dance and the eventual release of the band’s full-length follow-up. But Heaven and Hell isn’t entirely disposable. Minus Story has become adept at creating songs for people who alternately have their heads in the clouds and their eyes gazing down at their thrift-store Converse. Dreamy melodies, earnest lyrics and instrumental atmospherics combine to create the sonic equivalent of Cracker Barrel. It’s musical comfort food for the consciously disaffected, Chicken Soup for the Indie-Rock Soul.
And it is soothing. It is alluring. But it’s also a little annoying. “Heaven and Hell” and “Time Wastes Itself” are slices of melodic pie, but “Suffer By Yourself” is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and “Misery Is a Ship” never leaves port. Though Minus Story earns quirk points for taming the Misfits’ “Hybrid Moments,” the effort is too tongue-in-cheek to allow room for a smile.