Minus the Bear - OMNI (Cover Artwork)

Minus the Bear

Minus the Bear: OMNIOMNI (2010)
Dangerbird Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

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

OMNI very well may determine whether or not you still actively follow Minus the Bear. It's because this Minus the Bear isn't quite like the Minus the Bear that dazzled with prog-rock stylings on 2007's Planet of Ice. It isn't quite like the Minus the Bear that dealt out punchy math-rock progress.
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OMNI very well may determine whether or not you still actively follow Minus the Bear.

It's because this Minus the Bear isn't quite like the Minus the Bear that dazzled with prog-rock stylings on 2007's Planet of Ice. It isn't quite like the Minus the Bear that dealt out punchy math-rock progressions and odd time signatures on 2005's Menos el Oso, and it isn't quite like the Minus the Bear that spazzed and crooned in equal measure on 2002's Highly Refined Pirates.

No. Instead, OMNI is a melting pot of everything the band has done thus far and a foray into territory less familiar.

The Seattleites sound equally confident with the sly bridges and grandiose choruses of "Secret Country," the electro-funk of "The Thief" and the breezy verses of "Animal Backwards." What some may hear as a meandering, scatterbrained album is actually a finely tuned exercise in variation.

"My Time," the album's single, leads off with vibrant synths, mid-tempo grooves and the salacious musings of lead singer Jake Snider. Snider sounds more confident than ever at the helm of the album's 10 tracks, as is evidenced not only in voice but the sexual exploits detailed on within. Over the staggered synths, Snider sings "you taste like sweet wine, we are magnified / The sweat rolls down your thigh, we're making moves so blind / It's what you want, it's what you need, I'm just the same baby," and it's borderline entrancing.

Snider's vocals have a similar effect on the guitar-driven "Secret Country," a five-minute, multi-part adventure complete with all the peaks and valleys that could possibly be packed into one song. Staggered, distorted riffing and a noticeable melodic undercurrent work back and forth at the outset before switching places. Snider's slow, elongated delivery glides atop the clean, swirling progressions and the busy riffing behind it until some rousing drum fills pick the pace up in time for the triumphant chorus. Snider yells "we forget where we are" with drums crashing and riffs punctuating, and in this moment it sounds like the exact kind of song Minus the Bear are meant to write; therein lies their strength.

That same statement applies to so many of OMNI's songs--the quintet's chameleon-like tendencies are its biggest asset.

For as animated as Minus the Bear appeared on "Secret Country," they are equally reserved on "Hold Me Down." Snider's graceful baritone keeps pace with rhythmic percussion from drummer Erin Tate, and the guitar, bass and synth that were at the forefront on other tracks are relegated to the supporting cast. It's about tact on "Hold Me Down," and only on the brief choruses does the volume raise above a whisper. "Into the Mirror" changes gears entirely; the electro-funk leanings give the song a pep and attitude not heard before and the sordid foray into a night of sex and drugs is tackled immediately. As Snider croons "They got a mirror full of 'caine in the bathroom, 'cause nobody here knows when to stop / For now we're just makin' out with the door unlocked, back in the atrium the music's slowing down / The party's thinning out for the late crowd, fixes her lipstick and fixes his belt / The coast is clear as he walks out" over a punchy rhythm awash with gorgeous splashes of background melody, it's so delightfully brash.

In broaching subjects usually not plentiful on Minus the Bear records and experimenting with so many different sounds, the five-piece is bound to alienate old fans as it garners some new ones.

Such is the price to pay for progress.


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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.
IamtheAvatar (May 15, 2010)

Summer Angel is my jam.

Lysdexia (May 14, 2010)

I like the album. I'm familiar with them so I know that a lot of their songs are about doing the horizontal slam-dance, but on this album, it gets a tad awkward. It's good music, but I didn't want a full album of songs like "My Time" without songs like "Ice Monster".

MN_DrNick (May 13, 2010)

Not bad. But it falls short of the greatness that is Planet Of Ice.

slymer (May 12, 2010)

the 'boning' lyrics just seem to be more in your face on this album

Cyanotic (May 12, 2010)

I don't think anyone has a "problem" with the boning lyrics, other than that they are terrible.

half_head (May 12, 2010)

always loved this band... they deliver with every record. superb album.

thepopeofchili-town (May 12, 2010)

One more thing, Minus The Bear have always had songs about boning. They're baby-making music. If anyone has a probably with that, they should check out some Christian band talk about how you need to wait until marriage.

quickattack (May 11, 2010)

I didn't think I would like it that much at first, but after a while it really grew on me. Still, nothing will beat Highly Refined Pirates for me.

trailerparkjesus (May 11, 2010)

Seems like everyone is pretty much in agreement here.. Its pretty good, not as good as their old stuff and in lieu of the mathy guitar work and energy on the older albums, this album conveys a more accessible pop feel. Not only are they still writing songs about sex, but they have dedicated even more lyrical content to the subject.

Still good, we know what they're capable of and for its' still acceptable to the band's fans.

One thing that I believe is going un-noticed is something my friend told me from watching them at the secret show at Bowery Electric last week.. Apparently Dave is sampling guitar like a motherfucker and slips it in really coherently to the point where you're not really sure what kind of sound they're making; just that it sounds cool. I haven't seen a single person besides my friend credit them with this.

thepopeofchili-town (May 11, 2010)

I liked pretty much all their other stuff right off the bat, but this one took some getting used to. That said, I love it now and it's one of my favorites of the year so far.

SydBarrett420 (May 11, 2010)

This is such a homer a review. This album isn't nearly as catchy or experimental as Pirates or El Oso. The thing that disappoints me the most is the lack of intricate guitar work that made up great songs like "Hooray" and "Pachuca SUnrise"

R3vengeTherapy (May 11, 2010)

This took longer to get into than any of their other records, but it's pretty solid, despite having the worst song they've ever written on it ("Animal Backwards"). Whoever thought it was a good idea to take one of the best songs the band has ever done, play it backwards, and then put it DIRECTLY AFTER THAT TRACK is kind of dumb. My brain just rejects it.

I was also put off by the lyrics this time around, despite the fact that they've always had tons of songs about women. They could have stood a few that didn't revolve around that.

"My Time", "Summer Angel", "Into the Mirror", "Dayglow Vista Road", and "Fooled By the Night" are all great.

nocigar (May 11, 2010)

Though I will never like any music as much as their old releases, this album is pretty great.

jelone (May 11, 2010)

Gaaaaa these lyrics are so awful.

insinceredave (May 11, 2010)

Good review, although its hard to look past Pitchforks 3.5, which is pretty shocking.

I will get it though.

coldwaraaron (May 11, 2010)

didnt like it. This guy bangs women. great. why do we need to hear about it? music is fine, though.

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