Minus the Bear
Infinity Overhead


4.0
excellent

Review

by SwayzeFaced USER (6 Reviews)
August 30th, 2012 | 23 replies | 4,301 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The drums lay a foundation that the rest of the band dances around like some sort of demon-possessed Patrick Swayze

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

The problem with being a great “working” band is that you always have that one album people will think about when you release your latest effort. Well, Minus the Bear has three. And with each new LP, the band refined a sound that was ever-changing and amongst the most unique in the indie rock genre.

Highly Refined Pirates quickly became a cult classic with song titles like “Let’s Play Guitar in a Five Guitar Band,” lyrics that chilled listeners to the bone, and a groovy mellow jazz swing that most staccato indie bands had yet to achieve. Minus the Bear didn’t stop there, though. Menos el Oso was a different breed of album altogether. Building on the electronic breaks from Pirates, the band showed us that indie music could be more than just a few guitars with light distortion and a disco drum beat. But what many would consider their oeuvre is a little album called Planet of Ice. Critics were hailing them as the second coming of Pink Floyd, and the only thing the album was missing was a built-in laser light show.

So it is no surprise that when Omni came out, people were beginning to get a little jaded by the greatness that was the Bear. Fans and critics alike shunned the record for being “run of the mill” and “lacking in the classic MTB trademarks.” But what are the trademarks? Planet of Ice had been their foray into psychedelic rock royalty; Menos el Oso was a dance hook, math rock explosion of sound; and Pirates was the introduction of modern indie music. If anything, Minus the Bear’s trademark is that they don’t have a trademark. Their sound is much like the sandworm from Dune in that it has been given numerous titles, worshiped as a manifestation from a higher power, and can only be ridden by people under the influence of heavy amounts of spice.

Giant sandworms and laser lights aside, Minus the Bear’s new album Infinity Overhead is the culmination of 11 years of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears. From the very first song, “Steel and Blood,” Minus the Bear sets the tone for an experience altogether its own, yet still sharing in the accents that made the band great in the first place. The song starts with heavy down strums and a back beat that will tear your face off before drifting into a light, airy sensibility with soaring vocals and sprightly key progression layered in the background. The third track, “Diamond Light,” expands on the Planet of Ice sound by starting off as a trippy little journey filled with lightly delayed guitars, backwards synth sounds, and a melancholy vocal line that progressively blossoms into a track of relentless sonic presents and unrelenting emotion.

Out of all the songs on the album, I find “Toska” to be potentially the most exciting. One of the few staples of Minus the Bear’s sound is the electronic fills from the keyboards that have accompanied their unique style from record to record, but on “Toska,” the electronic feel of the keys has been traded in for the more organic sound of strings and metal. Right about the time the guitars set off, aerobically tapping in a melodious mixture of harmonies, the sound of a xylophone is blended in to the atmosphere with what sounds like a giant harp after the break, and the song’s vibe is taken to a level I have yet to see from Minus the Bear.

“Heaven is a Ghost Town” is the first song on which I have noticeably heard Jake step outside his comfort zone with the lyrics and approach a topic that most bands in the genre wouldn’t touch with a ten foot clown pole. It deals with the questioning of the existence of a higher power, how said higher power has seemingly abandoned us, heaven itself, and the wave of persecution its followers have laid upon the nonbelievers. Not that I am getting tired of songs focusing on love, sex, travelling, and drug use, but it is inspiring to hear a band like Minus the Bear approach these types of topics with their music, and I really hope we get to see more of that in the future.

Ending the album is my favorite song on the record, “Cold Company.” The energy I get from this particular track isn’t matched by any other on the album. It is pretty much the feeling you get when seeing Minus the Bear live, wide open, wild eyed, and free flowing. The drums lay a foundation that the rest of the band dances around like some sort of demon-possessed Patrick Swayze or angry, footloose Kevin Bacon. The lyrics are strong, and the music progressions are simplistically complex. In short, it is chaos controlled and perfected.

Overall Infinity Overhead is something that any fan of rock music will want to pick up and a very bright light for the future of a band that has already proven itself over and over again.



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user ratings (251)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
Dan H. CONTRIBUTOR (3)
Flashes of brilliance juxtaposed with imperfections....

Jacob R. STAFF (3)
Minus the Bear continue the quest for that poignancy they once had in their grasp, and with mixed re...

Alxander19 (3.5)
Combine Omni with Minus The Bear's previous albums, with predictable results....

greencorn5 (3.5)
A very good album worth listening to, but by no means a classic....


Comments:Add a Comment 
SwayzeFaced
August 30th 2012



349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Originally Posted on www.lamusicblog.com

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2012



49955 Comments


swayze fixation?

Digging: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

Xenophanes
Emeritus
August 30th 2012



10592 Comments


Should have picked a less dead celebrity

SwayzeFaced
August 30th 2012



349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

How can you not be obsessed?

SwayzeFaced
August 30th 2012



349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I mean, I got Kevin Bacon there... and I did say he was demon-possessed which could mean reanimation.

SwayzeFaced
August 30th 2012



349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Only reason I used that as the description is because David Knudson tweeted "Favorite review quote so far! Thanks for the nice words @LAMusicBlog!" after I posted it.

jmh886
August 30th 2012



800 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this better than OMNI on first listen. Though the second half of the album drags. I just wish the songs had more energy like their older stuff. Solid music all around though.

EverythingEvil2113
August 31st 2012



1279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like it. If I'm comparing it to Planet of Ice I'd be dissapointed, but it's enjoyable. They have a formula that works and I enjoy it.

SwayzeFaced
August 31st 2012



349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Omni grew on me espically with songs like Dayglow Vista Road, Secret Country and Animal Backwards. I enjoyed it because they didn't try to just make a Planet of Ice II. They are constantly looking to evolve their sound which I think is the most important thing a band can do.

I really enjoyed this album because I think for the first time they have taken all their past efforts and blended them perfectly along with giving us a glimpse at what could be next.

Beauville88
September 7th 2012



221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review! I look forward to more in the future.

I'm glad a positive review came out for this...seems like a lot of folks aren't digging the new direction, but this album is easily one of the best of the year for me.

Oh, and ten foot clown pole? Any Simpson's reference in the future will get an instant thumbs up from me.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2012



6387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yep

Digging: Vessel - Punish, Honey

SwayzeFaced
September 8th 2012



349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the positive feed back guys, I really do appreciate it. And I will try to cram a Simpsons reference into the Menomena review I am working on now that I know they are valued amongst the readers. ;]

Gyromania
September 13th 2012



15459 Comments


this album seriously sucks.

Ire
September 13th 2012



41753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i thought this sucked but then i found out foxxxy liked it so aoty

randalljebadiah
September 26th 2012



6 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Pass.

Yazz_Flute
October 28th 2012



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Cold Company is the best song.

Digging: The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

XingKing
November 9th 2012



10316 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Just saw these guys last night and as much as their new material sucks, they were amazing. Cold Company sounds killer live.

johnnyblaze
November 9th 2012



2600 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice. When I saw them they were great. So tight. And it's amazing watching Dave play some of his parts live. Did they play Toska or Zeroes?

XingKing
November 9th 2012



10316 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They played Toska but not Zeros. There was a solid amount of songs off this album, maybe 5 or so, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much of their old material they played. Dave is amazing to watch play, it's just a shame the rest of the members are so dull. Jake also kind of reminds me of Zach Galifiniakis now.

XingKing
November 9th 2012



10316 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh, and they played an encore with Dr. L'Ling, Lonely Gun and Let's Play Guitar. So fucking good.



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