Minus the Bear
Menos El Oso


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mark Campbell USER (14 Reviews)
March 28th, 2007 | 94 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Painstakingly complex, layered, and completely chill, MTB's latest proper full-length is one of the best driving albums out there, but repeated listens reveal staggering depth and dimension anyone can appreciate. Stellar album.

Ah... chilling is great. Sometimes after that long day at work, or perhaps after a long day of doing nothing (both equally satisfying), we all need to unwind and relax a bit to deal with the everyday stresses of life. To entertain oneself, or jut vibe without having to really do anything at all, everyone enojys that time of the day where they don't have to worry about as much and just be. Music helps me do this, along with other less-legal endeavors involving munchies, and other such things. Music is pretty much an obsession of mine in every form, and I especially love chillling and aurally picking through an album. And it's pretty much a truism to say that the truly dope albums out there are ones where you find new, undiscovered sound buried deep in the recording, even years after owning and listening.

One such album is Menos El Oso by Minus The Bear. The music within is a fiendishly inventive brand of uptempo, driving yet-relaxed angular pop with a post-punk edge, topped with almost computer-like, incredibly complex guitar figures. That's the main draw of their sound. The interplay of singer/guitarist Jake Snider and the twisted, tap-everything-even-full-chords guitar prodigy of Dave Knudson at times sound almost like movie soundtracks, sonic mosaics of pure melody and sound executed with great effect. This comes to mind especially in the final outro of "El Torrente", the foreboding intro to "Memphis & 53rd", and the close of "Pachuca Sunrise". The latter is a particular stand-out, setting a mood of hopeful melody with quiet, delay-washed guitar and sustained notes painting a vivid mental picture. It is probably the best example of a theme fitting music on this album; the song sounds like what a sunrise would sound like, which probably sounds weird... but just listen to it. You'll understand. I also like the cool Police vibe the band goes into with the chorus. Their machine-like precision mixed with chill groove sounds reminicient of The Strokes and No Knife... if they were on mescaline, listened to a lot of Police and Television, fingertapped their rhythm and lead riffs, and were... uh... Minus The Bear. Bands have done similar things, but MTB do it damn near the best. Nowhere is that more apparent that on this record, where Minus The Bear prove that distortion and aggression aren't needed to create driving, edgy futuristic rock.

For the patient listener, this album is rewarding. You simply aren't going to take this whole thing in one listen. But thankfully the boys have a keen sense of melody to keep you interested. The jumpy, almost Prince-like intro riff to "The Fix" will be stuck in your head for days at least, and I dare you not to sing along during the cataclysmic final outro/chorus of "Drilling", my personal favorite. Try not to air-guitar to the crazy riffage all over "Hooray" or vibe out to the metropolitan wash of sound in "El Torrente". Point being, this album has loads of character and doesn't sound like anyone else. And it's a wonderful album to relax to while revealing staggering layers of depth on repeated listens. This in itself is quite a rarity in modern music with its penchant of rewarding fakes, copycats, and instant-gratification pop.

Some older fans of Highly Refined Pirates or They Make Beer Commercials Like This may not be down with the new material as much. It's certainly not as loud, not anywhere as rough around the edges - the production is glossy and multi-layered, at times bordering on overprocessed. And the band isn't as blatant in its quest to make you go "Wow what a crazy riff". MTB is trying to set a mood and an emotion here and does so by slowly drawing you in until you "get" it. I highly reccommend it.

KEY TRACKS

Drilling
Hooray
Pachuca Sunrise
The Fix
Memphis & 53rd
The Game Needed Me



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user ratings (955)
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3.9
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Menos dazzles....

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...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Abaddon2005
March 28th 2007


684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

OK review, could have gone into some more detail, there is no mention about the rhythm section or keyboard work anywhere for example.
This album is, indeed, fantastic though. Dave Knudson is a wicked guitarist who should get more recognition.

CushMG15
March 28th 2007


1803 Comments


Good Review man. Thanks for sending this stuff, it's sick.

foreverendeared
March 28th 2007


14678 Comments


Highly Refined Pirates is one of my all time favorite albums so i definitely need this

BlindGuy1012
March 28th 2007


252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is an excellent album, and a good review.

sgrevs
March 28th 2007


698 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, brilliant album.

StrizzMatik
March 28th 2007


3229 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the comments fellas. I'm going to go back and add some more points as I felt this was a bit incomplete.

AlienEater
March 29th 2007


716 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

a pretty good album

rockguy2007
April 2nd 2007


10 Comments


smooth album


CushMG15
April 13th 2007


1803 Comments


I'm pending on a rating for this album, but I will say that Drilling fucking owns you and everyone you've loved. Thanks a lot for getting me into this stuff man, it's wicked good.

StrizzMatik
July 12th 2007


3229 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dibs on Planet Of Ice when it's out :cool:

StrizzMatik
August 6th 2007


3229 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have a truly monstrous review for Planet Of Ice on the way...

Abaddon2005
August 6th 2007


684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That album combines the best of this album and Pirates.. probably in my top 5 of the year

G3LLISTER
November 5th 2008


74 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is my personal favorite by these guys, they use the song lengths in much more bite-sized chunks which lets me actually finish the album.This Message Edited On 11.05.08

KritikalMotion
April 24th 2010


2262 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is the best by them i think, strange how very little comments there are on both reviews

Quen
July 21st 2010


1633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really chill album, I'm digging this right now.

Dylan620
July 31st 2010


1053 Comments


I love Pachuca Sunrise.

Digging: Death - Human

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
August 4th 2010


7159 Comments


^Pachuca sunrise on guitar is like playing a completely new instrument. It single-handedly got me back into playing after losing interest for awhile.

twlichty
December 7th 2010


3439 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

awesome review definitely a great album to chill out to. always be a 5 for me

Digging: HRVRD - From the Bird's Cage

DGTLPRTY
December 7th 2010


466 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pachuca Sunrise and Memphis & 53rd are my personal favorites

twlichty
December 9th 2010


3439 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

those songs are both awesome but this aint a sufin' movie has to be my fav



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