As Much Truth As One Can Bear is Mina’s debut album under her current name though she’s released several previous albums both under her birth name of Keith Caputo and with 90’s hardcore legends Life Of Agony. As you can probably work out from that this is Keith’s first album since he became a woman.
Musically this album is more in keeping with the pop rock of Keith’s previous solo albums rather than anything Life Of Agony recorded. As you might expect though a lot, if not all, of the songs deal with Mina’s extreme lifestyle choice and the turmoil that goes with it, this gives the album a pretty dark overtone, even compared to her earlier work. It’s actually quite difficult to listen to in places but often all the more rewarding for it.
The first track is Identity, a slow, mournful song that deals directly with the way she feels about her situation and sets the scene for the majority of what's to follow. One thing that’s immediately apparent is that Mina’s singing voice hasn’t changed at all from Keith’s. Perhaps it was a little naïve of me to think otherwise. Listening to this blind you’d assume it was a man singing not a woman. Maybe that’s what she means by “I’m not a man, I’m not a woman” in Identity. Probably not.
Both Jealous and Runaway Girl continue the theme and are pleasant enough if a little forgettable. The Unshaken, however, is possibly the best song on the album. It has an old feel about it, like a song that you’ve known for years. The chorus is great, really infectious.
Alone is a bit more aggressive music wise though still very much a pop rock song and is fairly self explanatory lyric wise.
My Dear Cats is the first real song that’s differently themed and is a cover of a poem by 60’s beat poet Gregory Corso. It’s still a miserable song, obviously, about losing, well I’ll let you work that out for yourself. It's somewhat twee but in a charming way.
The rest of the album follows a similar path as the rest though Give The Devil Back His Shoes references some of Mina’s musical influences such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Queen.
If I’m honest the albums starts to drag by the last few songs, they’re all of a similar slow, morose pace and the lack of lyrical variation gets a little tiresome. Individually the songs are all good, particularly the last one Cracks In The Mirror, but fourteen slow songs about how hard life is doesn’t half get you down!
For anyone to go through what Mina, and Keith, have been through is an immensely difficult thing and something I can't imagine. But to do it via the notoriously macho NYHC scene is doubly brave.
As Much Truth As One Can Bear then is a strong, worthy album with some great songs on it but it’s definitely something you need to be in the mood for. I would imagine it was written as much for Mina as it was for anyone else and, for someone in the unenviable position of being in the wrong body, this album must be greatly inspirational.
Best Track: The Unshaken
7 out of 10 This is good and well worth a check.
Also here's some Life Of Agony for reference why not. This is Weeds from their most melodic album Soul Searching Sun