Minus the Bear
Omni


4.5
superb

Review

by phantomboss133 USER (4 Reviews)
May 1st, 2012 | 12 replies | 1,331 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Funky and fresh

4 of 5 thought this review was well written

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.


user ratings (678)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
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 ...

Matt Wolfe EMERITUS (3.5)
Minus the Flair...

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 
ZilbelPing
May 1st 2012



5788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Try to stay clear of the track by track format for reviews as it's usually just a play by play of what the album is like, "The guitars come in here... the drums sound powerful here..". Try to tell us what it sounds like as a whole. You can pick out certain tracks that show off what you're trying to describe. Read some staff reviews to get a general idea of what it's like. Also, try to think like you're writing a literary analysis for school. I'll give you a pos since it's your first and its pretty good as far as track by tracks go.

As for the album. It's ok. Their previous work is miles ahead and I hope they go back to that sound on their new record.

PistolPete
May 1st 2012



3462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You said this was your first MtB album? It was the first album I heard from them in full as well. It just goes to show you that a lot of times the first album you listen to from a band heavily impacts what you think of them, even if a previous album may have been rated higher. So needless to say I like this the best and find their earlier stuff a bit less fulfilling, but I'm a minority lol

Good review but yeah listen to zilbelping and try avoiding 'track-by-track' reviews. Instead try picking a few themes or main points about the album you wanna bring up AND THEN what songs best demonstrate what you're saying (good or bad).

Digging: Jolly - The Audio Guide to Happiness (Part 1)

johnnyblaze
May 1st 2012



2572 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pretty good review

album needs broken china

Digging: The Hold Steady - Teeth Dreams

dcha
May 1st 2012



989 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's the $64000 dollar question. Do you review an album relative to its predecessors or to the field around it?

johnnyblaze
May 1st 2012



2572 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

both... derp

wacknizzle
May 1st 2012



11949 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is great album, but still their weakest imo. Check out Highly Refined Pirates and move through their albums chronologically, don't forget They Make Beer Commercial Like This, it's one hell of an ep. MTB is one of my all-time favorite bands.

Digging: Lord Mantis - Death Mask

johnnyblaze
May 1st 2012



2572 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"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."

had pretty much that exact feeling with highly refined pirates in in the fall of '07... they really do own their sound.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 1st 2012



23667 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

album was a massive let down for me

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

Archelaos
May 1st 2012



241 Comments


I like it quite a bit. I think a lot of people discredit it because of the album preceding it.

SowingSeason
Emeritus
May 1st 2012



14513 Comments


Outside of 'My Time' I thought this was fairly average

johnnyblaze
May 1st 2012



2572 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i was on a dance floor when My Time came on once. totally lost my shit.

wacknizzle
May 1st 2012



11949 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@SowingSeason: But what about Secret Country, Excuses, Dayglow Vista Road, and Into The Mirror. Those are all great song and the rest aren't spectacular but their still quite enjoyable, not too bad for MTB's worst album.



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