Contrarian: Minor Complexities

There’s a certain curve to symphonic-leaning prog-rock, as it’s usually a bit heady and nearly always indulgent. Whether it’s homegrown or from established rock icons, those characteristics are ubiquitous, but it’s really easy to lose sight of the rock on which it’s based.

Minor Complexities tries awfully hard to keep that in check, with plenty of braggadocio emanating from the Dickensonian lead singer Joseph Leming and generally strong riffage from multiinstrumentalist Tim Boney. Still, it’s easy to see where these Trenton, NJ, locals’ loyalties lie, lyrically tackling Kierkegaard and Plato, among others, throughout this 12-song LP.

A good sense of drama pervades Minor Complexities, and even when they’re not tinkering with Tritons and Motifs, Contrarian manage to keep a full, strong sound throughout the court of the album, even on less heavy fare like “You’re My Prayer.”

But the urge to create sprawling songs colored by ornate keyboard and synthesizer work is unavoidable here.Main songwriter Boney, who here plays all guitars and all keyboards, can surprisingly keep to a less is more philosophy at times, but in more harmonically dense sections of keyboard work will sometimes fall prey to innocuous melody lines that don’t quite enthrall like they should. Also, sometimes coloring or transitions will seem unnatural or not properly introduced, like piano-length arpeggios out of the blue.

It’s sometimes just prog for the sake of prog, rather than truly progressive. But nitpicking arrangements aside, Minor Complexities is an enjoyable, if not world-changing, bit of symphonic-prog fare.

In A Word: Myophonic