Damion Suomi and The Minor Prophets have this prophesying thing down. The majority of their latest album, Go, And Sell All Your Things sounds like a musical sermon directed at humanity and a triumphant battle cry aimed at evil forces. It’s chock-full of Biblical references, but for the most part, Suomi manipulates the allusions enough to suit the album’s folk-rock concept and keep from alienating listeners averse to heavily religious music.
The opening track combines a steady marching beat and Suomi’s declarations of “You’re gonna feel alone / You’re gonna feel afraid” to usher everything forward. As the drumming’s intensity escalates, the folk track takes an ominous Latin-American flair, similar to proceeding parts of the album.
The intensity of the songs’ dark material increases as the album nears the middle, especially on “Holy Ghost.” Near the end of the song, after the roaring guitars and cymbal blasts quiet down, Suomi fingerpicks chords and repeats “There is no Holy Ghost; There is no Holy Ghost; There is no Holy Ghost inside of me.” The tempo steadily rises, steel-pedal guitars slur and electric guitars crash back until everything dissolves in the sound of ocean waves.
This bleak vein continues, and some songs blend together with repeated tricks like inserting trumpets after Suomi finishes a line and building the track from near-silence, until the middle of Go, And Sell All Your Things. Specifically, “A Dog From Hell (and his good advice)” takes a more straightforward folk-rock feel that emphasizes major keys. The Prophets provide choir-esque background vocals and shout “Do it! Do it! Do it!” behind trumpets and shakers, imparting the sense of an uprising.
Immediately afterwards comes a swift directional turn in “I Hope You Die Sad And Alone.” The track is an all-out waltz directed at a lost lover, seemingly set in an old saloon. It’s just Suomi and a Prophet (David) playing a piano while glasses clink and conversations running together in the background before the other Prophets get in on the act, singing along to “I hope you die sad and alone.”
Like the latter, the most memorable songs on the album go in unexpected directions. “Let My Love” lets the Prophets take turns with verses, everyone else clapping along and howling like they’re all drunk around a campfire (Suomi does mention beer a fair bit.)
On most occasions, the instrumentation supports Suomi’s penchant for insightful, poetical lyrics. Those words are steeped in religious allusions, but unless one has a deep knowledge of the Bible, some references may go unnoticed.
For instance, “The Teacher” is based on the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is narrated by an unnamed person who calls himself “Teacher.” Ecclesiastes opens with “Vanity of Vanities. All is vanity,” while the chorus to “The Teacher” states “Vanity of vanities, all is meaningless.”
Although Suomi’s religious content may alienate some listeners, most of Go, And Sell All Your Things doesn’t reach cringe-worthy levels of preaching because of one thing: The band’s humbled humanity. “Sometimes nature can be such a bitch,” Suomi curses on “The Lion, The Lamb, & The Fish.” “I ain’t trying to be perfect, I’ll be perfect when I’m dead,” he sings with a direct and emotional, almost angry delivery.
Go, And Sell All Your Things is a cathartic, religious album that doesn’t sound traditionally religious. It’s infectious enough that listeners can probably overlook (or in other cases, embrace) the heavy Biblical allusions and some interchangeable songs in favor of the tension-releasing, fun and disparate sounds that accompany the rest of the record.