Thursday, October 25, 2007

Minus the Bear - Planet of Ice

Hailing from Seattle, Washington Minus the Bear are known for some quirky song titles. But before they are cast off as a novelty, one should consider their polished, smartly arranged songs with a closer listen. Finger-tapped guitar riffs mixed with catchy melodies and unexpected time changes are sure to keep things interesting and entertaining for most fans.

While they have released a few EPs and a debut LP (Menos el Oso, 2005) the release of Planet of Ice is really their grand entrance to the indie music scene. Up until this point the band has been circling the local wagons and creating a fanbase in the pacific northwest. Planet of Ice is a solid effort from a band that is still learning and growing. While not at their peak yet, you can see bursts of special ideas coming through on many songs. Unfortunately, this lack of cohesion is a blessing and curse on the album. When listening through, they sound like one band here or another band there without trying to hard. The blend of electronics, synths, guitar riffs, and swooning vocals create quite a landscape for the album. On the other hand, each of these reminders detracts from an identity they're trying to construct for themselves. Once they capture the exact direction and vibe they want to have consistently, they could really break through. If not, Minus the Bear will probably continuing making listenable albums, but nothing to be remembered for more than a few years. But, while they are rising, this album will give a great sense of what they are capable of achieving.

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