Friday, May 12, 2017

Minus the Bear : "Voids"

Its been awhile since I have caught up with Minus the Bear around 2004 they were one of my favorite bands. The last album I owned by the was 2007's "Planet of Ice" so it's been a decade since they were really on my radar. In that time frame they have releases a few more albums, I felt with "Planet of Ice" that the song writing was not as focused as the first album. Things have changed and there is a better balance. It opens with one of the albums most lyrically powerfully songs while retaining their normal cool, calm and collected detachment. It's a apathetic take on a break up song. Then the more electronic tinged "Give & Take" has some pop sensibility to it without coming across as a plea for radio play. There is a drugged laze to "Call the Cops" which sounds like is about a drug overdose. Its not a ballad , but it is very relaxed. "Invisible" cruises along with a smooth grace and the kind of shimmering guitars that the band is known for. Not as strong as the first three songs it's still pretty good.

"What About the Boat" finds vocalist Snider reminding me of Carson Cox from Merchandise, though not as quite as resonate of a baritone.There is a western reverb to the guitar and moves at less of an upbeat tempo as the previous songs, but there is a certain honesty to it that I like. They hit their groove and " Silver" hits a middle ground between their older stuff and the more slick pop infused direction they have since ventured in, though with another layer of atmosphere to it. An electro rock groove  drives  the catchy "Tame Beasts". The is one of the first songs where there is a clear distinction between the guitar and the electronic elements. They go back into the smoother flowing groove they are known for but with a more rock tone to it than I remember them having an an actual guitar solo that is dialed way back in the mix. The lyrics to this one are not as much they focus and instead the emphasis is one the almost funk like beat.

"Robotic Heart" which is another one of my favorites also embraces a more rock tone to the guitars. The vocals float up into his head register which I don't recall hearing on earlier releases. Lyrically it's gold as well. Something about the vocal melody on the chorus reminds me of the Foo-fighters. There is a more subdued Chris Isaak like tone to "Lighthouse" . Overall the dream like qualties to these songs is very thoughtful and makes this album carry a lot of depth as well as being a fun ride for casual iPod listening and makes me want to go back and see what I might have missed out on from these guys. I'll give this a 10 no questions as it marks a return to the band I want them to be.

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