Minus The Bear

Planet Of Ice

[4.5/5]



Not to discourage any up-and-coming indie rock bands or anything, but there’s really no point in trying anymore: Minus The Bear pretty much have the market cornered on being endlessly progressive, ridiculously inventive and most important, consistently catchy. But unlike 2005’s left-brained Menos El Oso-which was very crisp, calculated and linear-the right-brained Planet Of Ice finds the Seattle quintet more comfortable in their own skin, exploring looser, more organic arrangements and indulging next-gen guitar god Dave Knudson’s psychedelic side. The tightly wound dance numbers are dancier (“Knights”); the slow sex jams are sexier (“White Mystery”); Cory Murchy’s bass and Erin Tate’s drums are as in synch as ever (the punchy, dirty “When We Escape”); and new keyboardist Alex Rose gives the synths a much stronger role than ever before, both with brilliant countermelodies and sublime textures.


But the big draw to Minus The Bear, both recorded and live, is seeing just what Knudson and singer/guitarist Jake Snider will do with their instruments next. And from the frenzied guitar duels in near-seven-minute “Dr. L’Ling” (a wink to Menos’ epic “Drilling”) to the soaring, Pink Floydian solos in the almost nine-minute album closer “Lotus” to the effects-driven hip-hop groove of “Burying Luck,” Knudson and Snider once again pull off some next-level shit. And once they hear it, a nation of Guitar Center employees will sigh heavily and quietly go back to practicing their pentatonic scales. (SUICIDE SQUEEZE) Scott Heisel


ROCKS LIKE:

Rx Bandits’ …And The Battle Begun

The Mars Volta’s Frances The Mute

Minus The Bear’s Interpretaciones Del Oso