Minus The Bear is a band many people don't know about yet. Sad thing is, it will
probably stay that way as well. Their rather unique blend of emo and synth-pop makes
them an acquired taste to most - you either like it, or you don't. With Minus The Bear,
there is no in-between. I, for one, find myself liking their debut full-length, Highly
As stated before, Minus The Bear is a band built around the use of keyboards and synths
to give their music depth, atmosphere, and a rather relaxing tone. Most of these songs are
songs you probably could fall asleep to; not because they are long and boring, but rather
because they are very soothing and easy on the ears. Jake Snider's vocals sound
wonderful on this debut, as his airy voice floats over the music. The drums are also very
noteworthy here, for drummer Erin Tate will go from full-on playing to soft drum rolls,
even throwing a drum machine beat or two in there somewhere. Many of the songs are
softer in nature, but a few are very upbeat and almost danceable (I shit you not). It adds
for variety, and more importantly, fun. There's nothing too complex or mind-blowing on
this release, but it does make for a very good and easy listen.
The first thing you will notice are the very silly and irrelevant song titles. Some of them
are funny, but Minus The Bear is no Dillinger Four or Curl Up And Die. As for the songs,
there are fourteen of them, five of which are instrumental "interludes", if you will, which
utilize the synths to the max, almost creating a techno feel. The other nine tracks include
vocals, and are very diverse. Highly Redefined Pirates starts with "Thanks For
The Killer Game Of Crisco", which immediately showcases the keyboards, as this song is
laced with fun keyboard beeps all over the place. Every time I listen to this song, I find
myself singing the line "Our girls are looking so good..." way after this CD shuts
off. This song gets especially good towards the end. "Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!" is
next, and it is probably the most rocking track on the CD. The highly atmospheric synth
intro and the louder choruses make this song a winner. The dual keyboard/guitar part in
the bridge is amazing, and makes me want to bust a move like no other song has ever
done. "Absinthe Party At The Fly Honey Warehouse" (what the hell?) is forgettable, but
the next real track (preceded by an instrumental), "Get Me Naked 2: Electric Boogaloo" is
phenomenal. It's a mid-tempo song, but it has a very chill quality about it, and it makes
me just want to sing along. The organ in the background of this song is great. If I had to
pick a favorite song off of this CD, this would be it. "We Are Not A Football Team" is a
very, very soft song, and once again, the organ mixed with the guitar sounds great on this
song. After another instrumental track, "Spritz!!! Spritz!!!" wakes you up with a very
upbeat guitar part and inventive bass line. "Women We Haven't Met Yet" reminds me a
lot of "Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!", and it is every bit as good, with really good vocals
and held-out notes. "I Lost All My Money At The Cockfights" (which comes after
ANOTHER interlude!) is a real weak and boring song, sorry to say. I don't like the vocal
effects in this song, but the end of it is pretty good. Sandwiched in-between two more
instrumentals, the final "real" song, "Let's Play Guitar In A Five Guitar Band", is an
excellent song, and I love the way the line "She was something else..." is sung.
The tempo changes and piano parts are welcome additions as well. I dislike how the
album ends on a short instrumental, but hey, what can you do? I'll take what I
Like I said before, this album is not for everyone, but for those who do have a taste for
this kind of music will find themselves immersed in Minus The Bear's debut CD. I know I
was. Highly recommended.
"Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!"
"Get Me Naked 2: Electric Boogaloo"
"Let's Play Guitar In A Five Guitar Band"