The debut 5ive Style album, released almost four years before Miniature Portraits, remains one of the first documents of Chicago's emerging post-rock scene as a community focused on actual musicianship -- not exactly a priority with indie rock bands. During the subsequent period, 5ive Style members John Herndon, LeRoy Bach, and Jeremy Jacobsen focused on their full-time gigs (in Tortoise, Isotope 217, the Lonesome Organist, and others) and led the way for the transition from the shambling garage rock of much indie material to a focus on musicianship as well as grooves more tied to prog rock and jazz fusion. Just like its predecessor, Miniature Portraits is tied to polar opposites -- Meters/JBs deep-groove funk and the angular indie guitar of Slint -- but there are plenty of new directions to be heard. The marimbas and echo-chamber guitar shards on "Father Time" evoke the classic era of Jamaican dub, while Herndon drags out his Powerbook for several tracks that rely on a bit of experimental electronics. It may not be as much of a revelation compared to their debut, but the second 5ive Style album is a treat for any post-rock fan.
AllMusic Review by John Bush