Posted by: will | August 21, 2007

Minus The Bear…

Minus The Bear “Planet Of Ice” (Suicide Squeeze)

minusthebear.jpg

Coming from such diverse bands as Kill Sadie, Sharks Keep Moving and Botch, no one could expect what Minus The Bear would give us way back in 2001. However, it has been a fairytale story as Minus The Bear have skyrocketed in popularity over the last six years. It is amazing to see the influence that Minus The Bear has had on the indie scene with only two full-length albums under their belt. Minus The Bear seems to be one of those bands that continually finds their way into my RIYLs. That is a testament to band’s originality and ingenuity. Minus The Bear return in 2007 with their third album, Planet Of Ice.

The first three tracks of Planet Of Ice are patented Minus The Bear and sound amazing. A funny thing happens to the album after that though. The fourth song, “White Mystery,” is a five minute showcase of the many levels of Minus The Bear’s songwriting. It is as atmospheric as the band has ever sounded. Musically, there are few bands that can hang with Minus The Bear. These guys have impressive chops and “White Mystery” shows them off considerably. The seven minute “Dr. L’Ling” follows and is perhaps the band’s most expansive song yet. For better or worse, the song shows the band has a definite fascination with prog rock. Unfortunately, because the song sits directly in the middle of Planet Of Ice it causes a little struggle with the tempo of the album. The next song “Part 2” is the slowest song on the album and just does not flow well after the theatrics of the previous song. The album regains form with tracks seven, eight and nine. “When We Escape” ranks as one of the best songs Minus The Bear has ever written. The song lulls you in before the band pummels you with several powerful instrumental explosions. The album closes with the downtempo “Lotus” which stretches out for 9 minutes and sounds like an extension of the prog happy “Dr. L’Ling.” It also signifies the weaknesses of Planet Of Ice. Too often, the album sounds like a band that has one foot in the past and one foot in the future and they are not quite sure which way to go.

Minus The Bear’s first two albums showed exactly what they were capable of…creating an original, memorable and uniform sound. The songs and the tracking of Planet Of Ice lack the cohesiveness of the band’s first two records. The record struggles with tempos and finding a constant rhythm throughout. Planet Of Ice has no loss of great songs but the presentation severely hinders their affect.

RIYL: The Dismemberment Plan, Look Mexico, The Appleseed Cast

Listen:

Minus The Bear – Throwin’ Shapes (mp3)

Minus The Bear – Dr. L’Ling (mp3)

www.myspace.com/minusthebear

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Responses

  1. You cannot just let me do something without copying it, can you? Dang.

  2. In my opinion seven minute songs are always a bad idea. Unless you are NoMeansNo and are trying to annoy people.

  3. Well, the problem with that track is that the first 4 1/2 minutes is very sparse guitar sounds and little else and then the last 3 minutes turns into an actual song and a sort of decent one at that. just could’ve done without the interlude in my opinion.

  4. I still love this album, but you made some really spot-on points about its weaknesses.


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