Minus the Bear
Planet of Ice


5.0
classic

Review

by kevin234 USER (20 Reviews)
December 12th, 2010 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This could be MTB's best.

Now that Omni has had time to sink into listeners, it is fun to venture into past Minus the Bear albums. And with winter in full swing, 2007’s Planet of Ice seems all too appropriate. The name of the album alone sets a Wintery tone that is 100% backed up by the music. There is no false advertising here as Minus the Bear once again keeps an odd watery theme. Take Highly Refined Pirates out on the lake feel and the unmistakable night on the beach portrayal with Menos El Oso. For those who got caught in the rain while listening to Omni you know that the Bear is undeniably crafty at pulling this off.

After a few listens it easy to discover that the five-piece band was onto something. Delving deep within the record the listener discovers that these ten densely layered tracks might even be the best this Seattle band has ever made. With Planet of Ice comes a densely capped flurry of sounds that dazzle as well as chill. Every instrument is flawlessly crafted into each song making for an overall effort with not even subtly weaknesses. The progression this band made remains remarkable with every instrument improving in spite of a member change at keyboard. From the video game esc synthesizer that erupts to start the album to the guitar onslaught that ends it, every instrument shines. Handclaps, a xylophone, a saxophone, and piano create a variety of sounds on the record.

Jake Snider brings an “A” game of darkly mysterious sex in fused lyrics. Delivered with just the right touch of urgent calling and soothing sensitivity, Snider captivates listeners each step of the way. He carries listeners on a rollercoaster ride with epics “Burying Luck” and “Double Vision Quest”. Spacey numbers like “White Mystery”, “Dr. L’ling”, and "When We Escape" relax but still mystify. Lines like "you must be an illusion, can I still see through you" from "When We Escape" give a small sample to what brilliance can be found on this record. On guitar he keeps the groove that is cohesively paired with lead guitarist Dave Knudson. Snider again improves on the axe with his calming, at times subtle, rhythms and shows he holds is own instrumentally as well as vocally with the balancing act on this album.

Guitar master Dave Knudson simply works magic throughout the record. His delay infused riffs grab the listener, carrying him or her with dancing effect-laden melodies. Physical playing ability cannot be overshadowed by tricks how ever. This guy writes licks that leave you frozen in the dark. “Knights”, a single accompanied the band's most trippy music video, provides perfect example of what Knudson cooks up on this album. Listeners can feast on tracks like “Dr. L’ling” and “Double Vision Quest” for Knudson’s superb handy work. Frankly, it’s hard to believe Dave’s oh-so- sexy guitar could improve and the ice planet might even have him at his best.

Drummer Erin Tate’s tightly wrapped beats provide perfect foundation on the entire album. All other instrumentation nestles nicely in between the snare taps. But his work is anything but background noise on the planet. A stylized jazz feel can be found throughout the album creating many toe-tapping numbers. In some cases the sound is almost dance provoking. Percussion flows smoothly throughout the record with timely surprise bursts scattered all over. These bursts can be found in the electric drum variety on songs like “Dr.L’ling” and in timely fills like those in “Knights”. Much like they rest of the band his efforts on this impressive record have only improved since 2005’s equally impressive Menos El Oso.

With all the loud eruptions created by the other members, bassist Corey Murchy provides just the right low-rolling subtleties. Simple put he is the perfect third guitar. With Knudson’s bright delayed melodies and Snider’s calming chords, Murchy finds his nitche with his low base tones. Listen hard enough and Murchy delivers just as well as the fellow guitarist. Simply tune into “White Mystery” to immediately lock into a sexy bass-walk that is sure to provoke. Captivating bass lines are often tough to find in a collective effort, especially with guitarist that steal much of the attention, but Planet of Ice is full of them.

Finally, to pull all of the Planet’s sounds together and truly capture the sound of sex and winter, there is Alex Rose’s keyboard. Beginning with synthesizer tells immediately what Minus the Bear was up to on this record. They also introduce the news member of the band after former keyboard and backing vocalists Matt Bayles left to pursue a career as a producer (post- hardcore fans are drooling in anticipation of Matt’s work on Dance Gavin Dance’s future release). But this is where Minus the bear has improved the most. Rose brings a dark, more mature sound to the ivories that had not been developed on past LP’s and EP’s. He’s able to create more than just ambient tones, but also subtle piano work on “Knights” and synthesizer waves on many titles that include “When We Escape” and “Lotus”. His blanket of sound ties every bit of ambiance together creating an open cool darkness that inexplicably explains for the wintery feel of this record.

Rarely can music capture whole seasons, but Minus the Bear has managed to do it with a peddle to the floor enthusiasm that burst throughout Planet of Ice. This wintery record stands as their darkest yet, but carries with it a sound that cohesively captures the band at their best. Every aspect of this LP finds its way to the top of the ranks creating, undeniably, this quintet’s best work. Each song is jig-sawed together perfectly to entertain from start to finish. Albums with such perfect mixing of songs, that generate so much playback value, are nearly impossible to find. We all have our list of gems out there. It’s now time to add Planet of Ice to your list.



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user ratings (1353)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
specialk21 (5)
"Planet of Ice" is an impressively cohesive and grand album, characterized by arguably the most inve...

Tyler Fisher EMERITUS (4.5)
This album brings new elements to the Minus the Bear sound while still maintaining their fun, catchy...

Mark Campbell (4.5)
Menos El Oso was some great foreplay, but this is the pure ear sex that cooks you breakfast afterwar...

Jared W. Dillon (4)
"Snakes & Arrows" done right....


Comments:Add a Comment 
ShadowRemains
December 12th 2010


20842 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

paragraphs plz

CrisStyles
December 12th 2010


767 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^exactly

Foxhound
December 12th 2010


4570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

break em up

kevin234
December 12th 2010


238 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

took care of it. thank u

FyodorDostoevsky
December 12th 2010


412 Comments


Highly Refined Pirates.

tombits
December 12th 2010


3470 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

is worse than this because planet of ice is the best thing minus the bear will ever do

there you go, finished your sentence!

FyodorDostoevsky
December 12th 2010


412 Comments


So sick of people neglecting the awesomeness that is Highly Refined Pirates. I flicked the screen really hard where your name is and I hope it hurt.

tombits
December 12th 2010


3470 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hey i like highly refined pirates, but it's the same cruisy drug-fucked theme for the whole record. this is way more eclectic, diverse and subsequently exciting to listen to.

kevin234
December 12th 2010


238 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

anything by the bear is awesome. its so hard to pick their best stuff. plus there's an overwhelming amount of nostalgia attached to their music.

tombits
December 12th 2010


3470 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'white mystery' has such a great groove.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
December 12th 2010


23841 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

this album is so good it hurts

other MTB efforts don't come close to this

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
December 12th 2010


9034 Comments


You've improved vastly over a week, pos'd

kevin234
December 12th 2010


238 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thankyou i appreciate the feedback

Relinquished
December 12th 2010


25097 Comments


“Knights”, a single accompanied by a near acid tripping music video

oh come on

AmericnZero02
December 12th 2010


3343 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, man. I own every MtB record except this one so I put it at the top of my xmas list.

AnotherBrick
December 12th 2010


9770 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

man i just can't get into this

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
December 13th 2010


23841 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

seriously AnotherBrick? I thought you were my bro

Foxhound
December 13th 2010


4570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nobody doesnt like when we escape come on now

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
December 13th 2010


23841 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaa







awesome

Foxhound
December 13th 2010


4570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

no its really not



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