Minus The Bear - Voids (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Minus The Bear

Voids (2017)

Suicide squeeze

Fans have been waiting for five years for Minus The Bear to drop another full-length. Personally, 2012’s Infinity Overhead was the record that got me off the wagon, chalking them up to a band that lost their artistic drive. I was a big fan of their work on Suicide Squeeze records, so hearing they were back on that label for Voids reignited that hope in me. Sadly, the raw, meaningful memorable moments they capture here, as well as the passion of old, come too few and far between.

The first track, "Last Kiss," is one of the best MTB songs to date and it sets you up thinking that the record will follow suit. Band drama and shakeups aside, this song feels like they're harnessing their old dance-groove energy. It has a bit of Depeche Mode in its melody, and Jake Snider really seduces you as he waxes on about broken relationships. Dave Knudson's guitars are as on point as ever, pulling you in rhythmically while new drummer, Kiefer Matthias, holds the percussive fort down. Things quickly lose steam after that with songs like "Invisible" feeling like cookie-cutter, filler tracks. The melodies aren't anything mindblowing and feel so run-of-the-mill as things progress. "Call The Cops" is a slow burn that tries as well, but a lot of what made MTB so good, was how they could take these minimal tracks and give them flair. That appears to be something they forgot how to do. The songs are bare and lack any emotion.

"Silver" is another song that attempts to reinvigorate things amid Knudson's finger-tapping and a synth-drive that wants you to remember the stuff of old, but by then it's hard to get back on the horse. Highly Refined Pirates fans may be able to recognize notes of old here and there, but most of the album is way over-polished and creatively stifled. MTB try to maintain a sense of how well they did prog-punk but this is a line they can't even straddle anymore. The beauty that was once there is gone. Voids is aptly titled.