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.
Memphis & 53rd
The Game Needed Me