McStine & Minnemann — McStine & Minnemann
(Bandcamp no#, 2020, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2020-08-25
The debut collaboration between Randy McStine and Marco Minnemann is proof that there’s more than one way to make progressive rock. There are no epic multi-part suites, no overarching concepts, no grand orchestral gestures. What you will find are concise songs, none over five minutes in length, which embody a wealth of creativity and talent. And technique, though it’s never the focus of the music. McStine contributes the lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, and effects; Minnemann handles drums, percussion, guitar, keyboards, vocals, and effects. If you’re looking for comparisons, probably the closest would be Mike Keneally’s work, though you could also pick out Echolyn, and there are nods to some 70s rock as well, though this is not at all backward-looking or nostalgic. First off, McStine is a great singer, with a powerful delivery and good range, and the lead and backing parts are all outstanding. Every one of the ten songs features inventive arrangements for guitars and keyboards, mixing up power chords, harmony lines, inventive picking motifs, and varying tones. The bass work is solid, even occasionally commanding notice with a dextrous fill or interesting tone. Minnemann’s record as a killer drummer is unassailable, and he proves once again that he’s got what it takes to drive the compositions ahead, balancing rhythmic pyrotechnics with the needs of the song without ever taking over. McStine & Minnemann is an all-around impressive release which can be enjoyed on multiple levels, whether you’re looking for catchy songs, tight instrumental work, or technical details.
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