Minus the Bear - Lost Loves (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Minus the Bear

Lost Loves (2014)

Dangerbird Records

There has been some debate as to whether Lost Loves is in fact Minus the Bear’s sixth full-length studio album, or just a collection of previously unreleased material that doesn’t really count. It is true that Lost Loves is comprised of songs that didn’t make the cut on their previous records, but it somehow manages a sense of cohesion, and (for the most part) the tracks are just as good as what we’ve heard from Minus the Bear on their last couple full-lengths.

The tracks that make up Lost Loves date back to the Planet of Ice sessions, but opener “Electric Rainbow” sounds straight off of Menos El Oso. The ever-increasingly intricate guitar loops of the verse giving way to an explosive sing-along chorus will remind many listeners of what made them fall in love with Minus the Bear in the first place. The opening stretch of the album keeps up the quality. “Walk On Air” is an impossibly catchy upbeat rocker that destroys just about anything on Infinity Overhead.

“Patiently Waiting” is an interesting track, simply because it eschews the normal Minus the Bear formula for something quiet and gentler. Vocalist’s Jake Snider’s voice is front and center over sparse surf-influenced instrumentation with some electronic bleeps and blips in the background, like some kind of Beach Boys/Postal Service hybrid. It’s a brave experiment, but it doesn’t necessarily work. It seems like it’s building up to a crescendo that never comes. A few of the other tracks towards the tail end of Lost Loves run into the same issue, and there seems to be a bit of front-loading; Most of the best songs are on the first half.

Still though, the good songs are really, really good, and it’s interesting to hear which songs the group left off of their previous records, for better or worse. There’s some duds on Lost Loves to be sure, but there’s also a few hidden gems, and that’s really the best a listener can hope for from a collection such as this.