Review Summary: Funky and fresh
One night while I was navigating through YouTube to find new music, I saw on the side bar a band called Minus the Bear. I thought to myself, “That name is fantastic, so I’m going to investigate”. It was one of the best decisions I have made. I was immediately introduced to a band that could appease my inner sex-addict, yet not exploit it. A band that had the exact sound I had been trying to find. Minus the Bear fills that gap. And Omni is the main reason.
Omni is different from their other albums. Instead of heavily relying on their guitarist’s very complex playing style like their previous albums, this new album is more electronic, with synths having a bigger role than ever for MTB. An example of a synth heavy song is the first track, My Time. This was the first Minus the Bear song that I heard, and it greeted me with a groove that is easily likeable. It is a song about, well…sex. But fans shouldn’t take this as a surprise or something new, since sex is their favorite subject. It’s a great song for open minded fans, but it is a huge departure from their previous work.
The next song, Summer Angel, is my favorite off of the album. It starts off loud, energetic, and heavy. Following that is a wonderful verse that gives off a feeling of happiness and is catchy as hell. It is a song someone could raise a glass to for good relationships and the carefree times in life, like summer… “When we made it to the garden it was well past nine, our hands came into agreement as we walked in time” Though it doesn’t have the synth sound that My Time has and doesn’t just talk about getting laid, it’s still a pretty groovy song and has a more meaningful theme.
Secret Country is by far Minus the Bear’s heaviest and most energetic song. It comes in packing a punch to the gut, and continues doing so until it hits the verse, which is quite refreshing. It paints a very well described picture of sex. “The soft rain falls around us. The Moon says it’s getting late” shows the scene, and “We forget where we are, and you’re so loud” describes the action. But it isn’t as happy/groovy as My Time. It sounds a bit dark, and if sex wasn’t included, it would be a song about a guy who is tired of the real world and wants to go somewhere new. That isn’t a bad thing though, because MTB has been a bit dark sounding since Planet of Ice, and it works for them.
Into the Mirror and Animal Backwards are both great songs. The first is relaxing with a soft guitar playing. The latter is the first song, but backwards, instantly making it interesting. It has a dance feel to it, though, unlike Into the Mirror. It has a heavy bass line and synths progressing. Fooled by the Night is incredibly relaxing, beginning with an organ sounding synth, and later it turns to guitar and trippy synths to turn the song around, making it sound a bit poppy.
The Thief reminds me of a classic funk song. The bass is deep and the guitar is funky. The lyrics sound like they should be in a teenage pop song. Though if someone listened to Menos el Oso, and then heard this song, they would not know it was the same band. It is different and funkadelic, but pretty plain for MTB. It certainly belongs on Omni, but any other album and it would be the odd one out. Hold me Down is nothing special. Personally, I don’t like it. The sound just doesn’t hit a satisfying spot, and when I hear it, I feel like I’ve heard it before somewhere. It has kind of and 80’s pop song sound to it, and usually I love that kind of stuff, but it doesn’t work for this song.
Excuses and Dayglow Vista Road are two of my favorite ¬Minus the Bear songs. Excuses is a subject that a lot of people can relate to and sounds like a teenage “crush” situation, where one person finds out that the person they like likes them. MTB retains there relaxing feel in this song, and the meaningful lyrics make it so much better than their sexed-up songs. I have no idea what Dayglow Vista Road is about, but the melodies and lyrics make it sound like some magical experience people get from a certain place. The fast guitar plucking at the beginning building-up to the catchy riffs is incredible and makes it easily one of the best on Omni.
For those fans of MTB’s Math Rock sound, this album will be somewhat of a disappointment. But for those fans who are open to change and experimentation, I believe you will find this album to be a refreshing delight to listen to.