Minus the Bear
Omni


3.5
great

Review

by Matt Wolfe EMERITUS
April 30th, 2010 | 322 replies | 33,965 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Minus the Flair

Omni is the album every Minus the Bear fan should love. It takes all the best elements from each of their earlier albums and mixes them into one rather nice sounding new one. Want that effortlessly cool, screwed-that-model-in-the-bathroom-backstage-no-biggie vibe you fell in love with from Highly Refined Pirates? It's here. Miss that more focused, more driven indie sound that Menos El Oso provided, with its poppier hooks and cleaner production? Got that too. Or maybe you're more of a fan of the forward-thinking prog rock of Planet of Ice, where silly song titles were replaced with intelligent songwriting and the band really began to show what they were capable of? Look no further, Omni's got it. And yet it also sounds different, fresh; inviting and accessible for newcomers to the band. Perfect, no?

Not quite. Though it is fair to say the band have collected the best bits from their discography and given them a new home in Omni, each of those elements seem half-baked here; suffocated and with a frustrating lack of bite. Lyrically, the Highly Refined Pirates vibe of the record seems like a strained attempt to dig up their roots and appear cool and sexually superior (to you) again, and the exciting progressive indie from Planet of Ice is few and far between, rarely given the room to flourish when it does appear. The guitars of Knudson and co. take a back seat to the synth in many of the tracks here, creating a sound that's perfect for the summer ahead, but whether they'll last much longer is hard to say. One of the major criticisms I hear when introducing people to the band is "all the songs sound the same", and, while the ten tracks here can switch from sexy to mature, dark to funky, and the differences make themselves further known with extended listening, the heavy reliance on the synth does, unfortunately, keep that complaint intact.

Omni is still a very solid record. The grooves on this record are dangerously sexual, and the hooks, though they may take their time to really dig in, are amongst the most infectious the band have put out. There are signs, still, of new ventures; 'Secret Country' is Minus the Bear heavier than they've ever been, with a chugging guitar serving as a dense backdrop for some furious tapping, sweat-soaked lyrics and Snider's dark delivery of an impeccable hook in “We forget where we are.” Single 'My Time' also sees the band experimenting with the omnichord, and it's hard to deny that the song has to be one of the catchiest things released this year. The one-two reverse of 'Into The Mirror'/'Animal Backwards', while not wholly successful, proves the band are still trying new things, whilst 'Dayglow Vista Road' and 'Summer Angel' are evidence that the band are still capable of writing solid pop songs, with their memorable choruses and nostalgic lyrics.

Yet, for the most part, the songs here don't charm; they don't make your hair stand on end at the ferocious yet effortless tapping orgy inside a pounding chorus, or force a cheeky, jealous smirk at the idea of chasing girls in yachts while hammered. So what are we left with? Omni is Minus the Bear through and through in everything but two vitally important elements that make the band who they are. Their flair, and their drive to improve. While not a classic album, Planet of Ice was a very convincing statement from the band that they would be capable of one day producing such a thing. Yet, with Omni, they seem to have retracted that statement. I'm not sure if Omni is a band short of confidence or belief in their massive talent, or simply a sidestep for the band to try a few new things while also allowing their old sound to catch up with them, but one thing it certainly isn't is a band at the top of their game. And that's a strange place to be for one of today's most consistent bands.



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user ratings (679)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
phantomboss133 (4.5)
Funky and fresh...

Caleb McAlpine (2)
Taking a break from perfection to be (subjectively) very, very boring....

David Driver (4.5)
Simple yet substantial, Omni is a terrific Minus the Bear album that will, unfortunately, displease ...

Nevin (3.5)
Minus The Bear's lascivious songwriting and groovy music returns once again to make a very solid rec...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Athom
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2010



17116 Comments


i lol'd

Digging: Sad Lovers and Giants - Feeding the Flame

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
April 30th 2010



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I see what you did there.

Sorry if review is not up to par, this is time time of year where all deadlines pile up at the same time and I question why I went to uni.

BrahTheSunGod
April 30th 2010



1279 Comments


Summary: Minus the Flair

MIND = BLOWN

also, "effortlessly cool, screwed-that-model-in-the-bathroom-backstage-no-biggie vibe"
Lol'd. Nice description :D

Relinquished
April 30th 2010



22354 Comments


my brother what's up

Ponton
Emeritus
April 30th 2010



5775 Comments


I really enjoyed the review

never been a fan of these guys much

Digging: Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
April 30th 2010



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

minus the flair and relinquished. the ultimate wolfe pack.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
April 30th 2010



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with pretty much every statement in this review.

vakuola
April 30th 2010



274 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Couldn't agree more with your review, man, very well written as well.
The only reason I gave this a 4 it's because I love Minus The Bear, deeply. Planet Of Ice remains as one of my all time favourite albums, but this one doesn't even touch it.

vakuola
April 30th 2010



274 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Alright, rating change.

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
April 30th 2010



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

no dude i really wanted to give it a 4 too but it just doesn't stand up to their other work. it's
definitely grown on me, but not enough.

focksy
April 30th 2010



437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

give it time paco

joshuatree
Emeritus
April 30th 2010



3743 Comments


best summary ever, like this lot though idk

DoubtGin
April 30th 2010



6686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

good review, dont agree with the rating.

elephantREVOLUTION
April 30th 2010



2702 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

damn good review. i still really dig this album though.

Digging: IDYLLS - Prayer For Terrene

NeutralThunder12
April 30th 2010



8742 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

amazing studio work from the Bear, very entertaining and groovy, but their older sound features better songwriting overall. This is still an original and excellent record though, between a 3.5-4. Great review as well.

BigTuna
April 30th 2010



5151 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, and I have the exact same situation as you at uni atm.

Digging: EMA - The Future's Void

Beauville88
April 30th 2010



209 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Terrific review, but the "flaws" of Omni don't really bother me too too much.

We'll see how it grows, because it's a solid 4.5 at this moment.

Photon
April 30th 2010



1288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

review is spot on

Digging: Pink Floyd - The Final Cut

Phantom
April 30th 2010



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Gave this a few listens for the first time yesterday; it's pretty good but I definitely enjoy their older material more. Somewhere between a 3 and 3.5.

Slum
April 30th 2010



2579 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Blew mine out of the water haha
Excellent review dude!



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