Sunday, October 09, 2005

Minus The Bear "Menos El Oso"

Minus The Bear "Menos El Oso"
released 8/23/05



I've been able to listen to this album for about 2 and a half weeks because I had a burned copy, but I am such a fan that I went out on Sunday and bought the album at Vintage Vinyl. Thanks to Jenn for letting me only spend $35 on the cd and the Death Cab For Cutie DVD instead of like 100 bucks (I love that place).

So anyway, for the most part, the album was inspired by a recent trip/tour in Spain. They loved it there. The booklet has all photos from the tour, most of the songs refer to places in Spain, even the album is "Minus The Bear" in Spanish. I have to say it is not as catchy as their last full length "Highly Refined Pirates" was, but the instrumentation was more technical. The album was produced almost entirely by Minus The Bear. All of the band members contributed to the album- Matt Bayles (synthesizer) mixed the entire album, Matt and Jake Snider (vocals, guitar) engineerd almost the entire album, David Knudson (guitar) designed the layout, and Cory and Erin (bass and drums) took all the photos for the album.

The album has a great opening track, very catchy but it's also pretty trippy. Track 2 has a great guitar riff and it's very upbeat and dancey. Track 3 starts to drag the album down because of it's length, but it is patented Minus The Bear lyrics and energy. The opening riff of "The Fix" drove me crazy and annoyed me for a while, but after a bunch of listens it grew on me. It grew on me alot. Now I can't wait for track 3 to end so I can hear it! Excellent guitar solo too, it's probably Dave- he is amazing! Track 5 is kind of a drag- it's mellow, and the lyrics/ theme of the song is so depressing. From how I interpret it, it's about a little girl who was murdered. It was written excellently, but still, that's a weird subject for a MTB song!

"Pachuca Sunrise" is one of the top 3 songs on this album. It is catchy, dancey, mellow, has great guitar riffs, and near perfect lyrics! Such a great song. "Michio's Death Drive" is very reminiscent of something you might hear on "Highly Refined Pirates", and this is one of the few tracks where you can really hear the synthesizer, instead of it being drowned out by the other instruments. Track 8 was the first song released on their myspace page, and I fell in love with this song. It's the 2nd most catchy song on the album, and again, great lyrics! It brings back memories of childhood. It has a great chorus and it makes me feel good when I hear it. Everytime I hear this song I can just picture a snow covered street with snowballs being thrown all over the place.

"Fulfill The Dream" really reminds me lyrically of "Lemurs man, lemurs" from "What I Know About Being Gigantic", and it's one of the louder/rockier tunes on the album. It also has a great guitar bridge. "The Pig War" is probably one of the most beautiful songs I've heard in a while. It's so simple, yet so moving! This one was definitely inspired by a night out on the Mediteranean during their stay in Spain. Everything about this song is perfect! "This Ain't A Surfin Movie" seemed lame to me at first, but it grew on me. The music/lyrics are sub-par for Minus The Bear, but I still like it alot, and the last verse has me shouting at the top of my lungs everytime-- "I know we won't want for much, it's just you and me and a bed and a shoreline!"
I was kind of disappointed by the lack of silly track titles that didn't make any sense, or didn't refer to the movie "Starship Troopers", but oh well.

Fav tracks- 1-The Game Needed Me, 2- Memphis & 53rd, 4- The Fix, 6- Pachuca Sunrise, 8- Hooray, 9- Fulfill The Dream, 10- The Pig War, 11- This Ain't A Surfin Movie

fans of Hot Hot Heat, Sharks Keep Moving, and Death Cab For Cutie will appreciate this album

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