Chicago seems to have quite a strong alternative metal scene, and by that I mean groups who are willing to do different things within metal, not bands who sound like Incubus. Pink Frost certainly fit that label, as their sound encompasses a whole host of diverse influences: shoegaze, garage rock, psych, drone, stoner, and doom. If that sounds like an odd mix, it certainly is (and explains why New Minds is a rather uneven listening experience). When it works, the band is a hard-charging, hazy, and dreamlike beast, deft at bringing about a lot of purposeful noise. The record starts off really strongly, but that doesn’t last forever. When that mix doesn’t work is when drone and sleepy shoegaze meet for songs that seem designed to reference space rock acts like Hum (“Burn Before Dawn” does this quite well, actually). This is a particular problem when things get slowed down, as songs like “Headlights” and “Avian” really drag down the album; there’s an inherent power to these slower numbers, but it’s swallowed up by an odd lack of energy; they aren’t off from true greatness, but they end up feeling like poor attempts at chamber pop more than anything else.
Ultimately, Pink Frost’s latest is doomed by that which makes it interesting in the first place: diversity. The record captures an impressive array of styles and sounds, and it more often than not mixes quite well. However, when things go south, they really go south. It’s a shame that the result is so uneven.