Two-Minute Miracles Volume II

This second full-length studio effort from London, ON's Two-Minute Miracles is an oddball-ish, twilight-dark, melodic gem, the likes of lands atop the rock pile about once every three years. (Previous strikes have included Guided By Voices' epic Bee Thousand, the Olivia Tremor Control's Dusk at Cubist Castle and Grand Theft Canoe/Voit's swansong magnum opus, The Moon Hour.) Vocalist/guitarist Andy Magoffin possesses a rare sense of vocal melody (not to mention a pretty sweet, versatile set of pipes) that serves to carry a number of these already gorgeous tunes that much further aloft. Though rooted in the half-lit corners of brooding alt-rock, these Minute men subscribe to no particular stylistic constraints. As such, the material blossoms here and there with folk and country flourishes, helped out in no small part by John Higney's brilliant lap steel and plucky banjo work. On "Eleven Toes," the quintet shifts into some sort of campy, cabaret mode and almost ends up with a full-blown polka on its hands. The group performs another genre defying U-turn with "There's Nothing Like the Glow of a U.F.O.," a song that uses horns and chunky, sinister guitar work to create a foreboding and suspenseful sonic backdrop as Magoffin demonstrates his evil carnival barker routine. As dynamic as the disc is musically, the other piece of the near-genius puzzle arrives by way of Magoffin's lyrics, of which there are too many stellar examples to cite here. Expect to see this title sitting somewhere near the top when the year-end critics' polls come out. (Teenage USA)