Review – “Minor Setbacks” – Poor Traits

reviewed by Anna Alger

Rock out to the cathartic jams of Poor Traits, a band with many rich qualities. Reminiscent of defunct Anacortes, Washington band, The Lonely Forest, but with a female lead singer, the Vancouver band is capturing that unique west coast sound – darkness that is broken through with moments of the most brilliant light.

Opening with “Grey Cloud,” a fuzzed out bass line and confident guitar work pair with angsty lyrics to set a consistent tone. During the bridge, intricate drumming and melodic guitar are juxtaposed by harsh gang vocals, creating an intriguing contrast.

Next is “Counting Seconds,” opening with chugging guitar and a strong bass line. Clear and evocative vocals lead this track. The song eventually explodes into a blistering solo, providing energy to lead into the next song, “Not Worth Mentioning.” It definitely is worth mentioning, with catchy and light verses that flow into a much more rock heavy chorus.

“Racoon” starts out seemingly slower and more contemplative than previous tracks, eventually exploding into a dramatic repetition of the phrase “My whole world turns,” filled with percussion and guitar arpeggios. Hitting the halfway point allows for a delicate instrumental interlude, “My Julyer,” before the band breaks into another energetic number. The epic bassline featured in “Fairy Tales” continues this run of unrestrained intensity. The record slows down as it comes to an end, but closer “Dead End” ups the excitement again with its assertive vocals and driving rhythm.

Poor Traits are making introspective rock with heavy metal influences, which makes for an enjoyable listening experience. There is a great deal of melody in their sound, toning down the abrasive quality of the frequent gang vocals. Strong talent is evident in this group, who have created a cohesive album with Minor Setbacks.

Minor Setbacks can be purchased via Poor Traits’ Bandcamp page.

Top Tracks: “My Julyer,” “Black And White”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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