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Minus The Bear - Menos El Oso (Cover Artwork)

Minus The Bear

Minus The Bear: Menos El OsoMenos El Oso (2005)
Suicide Squeeze Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: danperroneDan Perrone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

For some reason, every time I listen to Menos El Oso, Minus The Bear's second full-length album, I feel as if this will be the album to make or break them. Speculating that this eleven-track collection would propel them into the limelight wouldn't be such a far-fetched idea; the band has got tremend.
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For some reason, every time I listen to Menos El Oso, Minus The Bear's second full-length album, I feel as if this will be the album to make or break them. Speculating that this eleven-track collection would propel them into the limelight wouldn't be such a far-fetched idea; the band has got tremendous airplay potential (especially here, which will be detailed later), a great "we all used to be in bands with credibility" platform (Botch, Sharks Keep Moving, Kill Sadie, etc.), and tongue-in-cheek yet intelligent lyrics. However, on the other hand, the skeptics will have a field day with Menos El Oso; it's a major change in the band's sound, replacing upbeat, almost spastic guitar work for a more refined, smoother, and a tad more boring sound. It seems to me like this will end up being an album people will either like or hate; I would put myself on the like side of the fence, for it's a nice -- if anything -- slightly flawed effort, but far from the band's best work.

Menos El Oso is a very relaxed album. The eleven tracks found on here glide by in no time, sometimes without the listener even noticing. I can't begin to put my finger on how many times my mind drifted off during the length of the CD, only to crash back into reality one song further into its duration. The songs found on Menos El Oso simply do not command your undivided attention, a quality which made older Minus The Bear material so special. That's not to say these songs are bad -- in fact, some of them are very good -- but there's no sense of urgency to be found. Bouncy, dancey tracks like "Spritz!!! Spritz!!!" and "Fine + 2 Pts." are nowhere to be found (save the chorus of what will soon to become a fan favorite, "Pachuca Sunrise"), and have been replaced by spaced-out, dreamy jams like "Memphis And 53rd" and "This Ain't A Surfing Movie," the latter being one of the best songs here, and the former being, for lack of a better adjective, a snoozer. Fortunately, there's still a lot of interesting guitar work and fun bass rhythms throughout the forty-minute length, especially on the album's highlight track and first single, "Hooray," a song which combines all of our favorite elements of Minus The Bear -- the fun, the rock, and the chill -- and rolls them up into one four-minute anthem. The more in-depth songs, like the spectacular "Digging" and "Fulfill The Dream," fare better than the rest, because they motivate you to listen to them, whereas songs like "El Torrente," which lingers for five minutes without going anywhere, and the awkward choice for an opener "The Game Needed Me," are simply too uninteresting to garner a multitude of further listens.

On the upside, the lyrics are still top-notch, as the band excels in painting pictures and telling stories with their words, as shown on "Pachuca Sunrise" and "The Fix." My favorite line, however, comes at the very end of the album on "This Ain't A Surfing Movie," where vocalist Jake Snider croons "I hope the weather holds, but you don't need the sun to make you shine," soon to be in AOL Instant Messenger and MySpace profiles everywhere. The band has a knack for coupling fantastic lines with great moments in their songs, and this is no different. It's surprising when a band's lyrics are written so well that they make you want to keep listening even moreso than the music, but it holds true for Menos El Oso.

It will be interesting to see how this album is perceived by the masses. Minus The Bear are a great band and possess a lot of talent, but I can't help but feel a little let down when I listen to Menos El Oso.

Standout Tracks:

  • "Digging"
  • "Pachuca Sunrise"
  • "Hooray"
  • "This Ain't A Surfing Movie"

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Minus The Bear - Highly Refined PiratesAt The Drive-In - Relationship Of CommandMinus the Bear - Planet of IceA Wilhelm Scream - RuinerJawbreaker - Dear YouThursday - Full CollapseThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldWeezer - PinkertonCursive - The Ugly Organ

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
themikestatic (August 9, 2006)

its taking a long time for this album to grow on me. i wanted more "highly refined pirates"

but this is good, just different

and sadly they were pretty boring live. i was dissapointed. hopefully it was just a bad show.

Anonymous (March 15, 2006)

yeah. so it did take a while but i like this record quite considerably more than highly refined pirates. this record is truely tremendous.

doubleplay1421 (October 8, 2005)

i think this album is amazing...probably one of my favorites

Anonymous (October 8, 2005)

i love the entire album..i think they hit the mark again..i love it all!

Anonymous (September 16, 2005)

david knudson is an innovator on guitar and the material released here demands multiple listens. its like a big fucking cake that i and many others will sink our teeth into for a long while.

Anonymous (August 29, 2005)

This is album is great!!! The past albums are amazing too. Some people just don't know what the fuck they are talking about. "Is this the band that just does taps on the fret board" That's some fucking talent, not that Atreyu and other shitty lame metal bands out now.

Anonymous (August 29, 2005)

If you know anything about music, which 90% of the people who leave comments on here don't, you would know that this is one of the best albums to be released this year. I don't know if it beats out Nile's Annihilation of the Wicked or Aborted's the Archaic Abattoir. I'll have to give it a couple listens.

Anonymous (August 27, 2005)

minus the talent

Anonymous (August 26, 2005)

what in gods name is the guy below trying to say?

Anonymous (August 26, 2005)

"to the guy two posts below who hasnt learned to properly cut and paste...what the hell are you talking about with your punk points and shit? what in my comment made you think i care about all that and when you were listening to rkl?

besides, saying you listened to them in high school doesnt mean shit. for all i know, that coulda been this afternoon..on your ipod mini ..on the way to summer school

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com"

i got the cut & paste right.

and you know what doesn't mean shit? a war of words between 2 punks.

so i bow out. sorry. let's move on.

-that guy from 2 posts back or whatever."

Uhhhh,,,,,,I wrote my comment before I read the article and saw any of the comments entered. Just saying I live a couple blocks from ian, seriously,,,,,just a joke.

I think you spend toooooo much time on this site.

and for the record JONES THE BONES?!?!, that RKL comment was from someone else ASSWIPE!

"All up in the Kool Aid and don't even know the FLAVOR!!!"

Anonymous (August 26, 2005)

sorry, it's sometimes hard to tell if someone is joking in print form (i'm not being sarcastic)

-notaclevername

Anonymous (August 26, 2005)

"AWS: "a band that schools legends like husker du and motorhead"

i mean, they're not bad, but they just kind of sound like a hybrid of bad religion and strike anywhere

no where NEAR as revolutionary as motorhead and husker du at their best, in my opinion

continue with the actual minus the bear comments, please

-notaclevername"

shit just went straight over your head, eh?

Anonymous (August 26, 2005)

AWS: "a band that schools legends like husker du and motorhead"

i mean, they're not bad, but they just kind of sound like a hybrid of bad religion and strike anywhere

no where NEAR as revolutionary as motorhead and husker du at their best, in my opinion

continue with the actual minus the bear comments, please

-notaclevername

Icapped2pac (August 25, 2005)

Maybe I'll have to give this more attention, but as of right now, it's still fairly good, but not like "Pirates" was. And for the record, the new video is fuckin aus-rotten-awesome. I wanna know where the hell a band as obscure as these guys get the money for a video like that, though. Or maybe I just don't know anything about videos and it wasn't really that expensive... I hope these guys come around the D soon on a weekend night, I'd love to catch their show for the first time.

Inspection12e (August 25, 2005)

It's no Highly Refined Pirates but I still like it a good bit.

Anonymous (August 25, 2005)

if this is a grower, then I'm gonna be loving this soon.

Anonymous (August 25, 2005)

is that really him? weird. welcome to the dark side.

maverick (August 25, 2005)

Welcome, Scott Weber! Take off your shoes and stay a while.

-Scott

LevitateMe (August 24, 2005)

This band is terrible

Anonymous (August 24, 2005)

"is this the band that has the guitarist that just does octave and triad taps on the fretboard the whole time?"

you are stupid and you cannot write good songs and your metal solos suck

Anonymous (August 24, 2005)

is this the band that has the guitarist that just does octave and triad taps on the fretboard the whole time?

weebs (August 24, 2005)

Booooo. One of the best albums of the year. I love their brand of dance-indie. The album has such a good flow and vibe to it.

sickboi (August 24, 2005)

I was listening to a few songs off this, and I swear to god, I almost fell asleep. Snore-core revisited.

stevejonestherealbones (August 24, 2005)

underground...i wasnt going to go there, but come on, the guy asked, and this time i took the opposite side...also, some people in the bled tried to bring it back, i dont know if it will ever die.

- jones

tristan (August 24, 2005)

What an effortlessly inspiring album. I'm surprised you don't feel "The Fix" is a standout though. It's one of my very favourite songs of the whole year.

theundergroundscene (August 24, 2005)

jones

don't pull a crooky and beat the same joke into the ground a million times

for all of our sakes

thanks

Anonymous (August 24, 2005)

this album is amazing. I am glad they made it a bit different than their past works - i didn't want the same album twice. and for the record, the game needed me is their first single (video on their page) and the song is fucking awesome. not lackluster like the reviewer said. there's my 2 cents.

piratasmuertas (August 24, 2005)

Psh.

AWS... Gimme a break. Even Thrice is better than those clowns.

stevejonestherealbones (August 24, 2005)

"who is AWS?"

a band that puts strung out to shame. a band that succeeds where strung out and bigwig fail. a band that schools legends like husker du and motorhead.

AWS are what i like to call the Kwisatz Haderach of bands....

AWS is A Wilhelm Scream

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

Anonymous (August 24, 2005)

who is AWS?

tahoejeff (August 23, 2005)

Godsmack kicked Story of the Year's ass

Disturbed worked over Finch.

stevejonestherealbones (August 23, 2005)

"Ha! Remember when these guys got their asses kicked by Disturbed?!

-Will

I thought Disturbed kicked Finch's ass..."

wasnt it story of the year? if not...who was it that icked story of the years asses?

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

tahoejeff (August 23, 2005)

Ha! Remember when these guys got their asses kicked by Disturbed?!

-Will

I thought Disturbed kicked Finch's ass...

tahoejeff (August 23, 2005)

I tried listening to a few songs. I' ve heard so many good things about this band. I just cant seem to get into it right now. There just doesnt seem to be much energy. As far as AWS and this goes I like Ruiner better. But its really not right to compare the 2. they are 2 entirely different styles of music.

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

Ha! Remember when these guys got their asses kicked by Disturbed?!

-Will

yayforapathy (August 23, 2005)

"uhh yeah because i think it's a better album

that is just truly crazy!!!!!!!!!!!"

Well toche, I haven't actually heard the new AWS in it's entirety. But Minus The Bear does indeed kick ass.

etwiels88 (August 23, 2005)

I gotsta cop this.

I love all of their material.

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

this is more worth the money than Ruiner and you know it...Ruiner's got 4 good songs on it best...at least this is original...I don't understand how this got a lower score

BlAquaCadetZstyles (August 23, 2005)

Brilliant album, but it's so odd that I see how anyone could have not really enjoyed it.

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

This one is a shoo in for record of the year. No Contest, its better than *gasp Cave In. Wow

Barkley

colossalbandit (August 23, 2005)

This review sucks, top 5 cd's of the year as far as I'm concerned...

theundergroundscene (August 23, 2005)

"You give AWS a better score then this?!... the heavens are falling."

uhh yeah because i think it's a better album

that is just truly crazy!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

Say what you want about "most albums don't take time to sink in" but this one DOES so just accept it and if you listen to it enough you will hear Album Of The Year all over "Menos El Oso"...

yayforapathy (August 23, 2005)

You give AWS a better score then this?!... the heavens are falling.

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

This requires time. Its dense as a muthafuka, in that interview with the band in Ap, they commented on trying to make a less dense record. I don't really hear it, but after MUCH listening your so very handsomely rewarded.

Barkley

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

I agree the vocals are much more cohesive with the instrumentation. His voice used to stick out like a sore thumb. It blends much better here.

Has anyone picked up where the Velvet Teen and New Trust contributed?

benz (August 23, 2005)

This album isn't that good. Not anywhere near as good as their previous work.

-benz

aubin (August 23, 2005)

I liked this album a lot, but I agree with the reviewer that there is something missing here. I found Pirates to be wonderful instrumentally, but sterile in how detached the vocals were from the band.

Here, the vocals and the instrumentation seem to fit together much more coherently, but the result seems to be that some of the more creative elements of the instrumentation are missing.

I really missed the strange stacatto rhythm section liked how much more natural and organic El Oso feels.

Timis (August 23, 2005)

i havent heard this album yet but their recorded stuff never really stood out for me. however this band live is damn good.

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

Great review. I'm thinking about getting this album.

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

Memphis and 53rd took 60 plus days to sink in to me subconscious as one of the many great tracks on this record. Give it time. I doubt the reviewer (who really can't be blamed) had that much time. I just made this disc a priority.

Barkley

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

nope, the reviewer is correct. this one and highly refined pirates are thier only two full lengths. as far as this cd being boring, i totally disagree. it's a healthy combination of the old sound we know and love and the new bear that we're not used to. it took me a bit to get into this cd at first, but now it's one of my favorites and i may even like it better than thier other material. i can't wait to see these guys again.

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

2nd full length?

Don't they have 3 full lengths and a bunch of eps?

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

I completely agree amd I am on the like side, but I feel that it too is missing something. It will be in a top ten for the year, but hey I see it this way there will be another album maybe they will try something different there too.

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

did anyone else think that their lyrics on past releases were a bit trite. All they sang about was livin it up on lakes and yachts, drinking, and girls. I found the new one to have much more depth with some actual socially conscious songs (game needed me and el torrente). I found them to be more clever pop before, whereas this release is more thoughtful, dreamy rock.

ElVaquero (August 23, 2005)

Meh.

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

I like this alot-certainly more restrained than their previous work though. The moving lyrics are still there though.

-Bemused-

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

fucking brilliant album

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

this stuff is not bad but where is The New Pornographers review?

tahoejeff (August 23, 2005)

So dooes this still count as a S/T album...

Anonymous (August 23, 2005)

I did not like this at all for the first 10 or so listens, but if there was ever an album that was a "grower", it's this

This album is fucking beautiful, and will be at the top of my list come years end

inagreendase (August 23, 2005)

Yeah, I'd give it the same score. But I think it's disappointing because I thought the band pulled off the soft/loud dynamic really, really well on the EP, and there's next to none of that here. Still a good album, but it won't be appearing on my top 20 like it will many, many others I'm sure.

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