Friday, August 31, 2007

#19: Minus the Bear>Planet of Ice>Hibernation has something to do with it

Artist : Minus the Bear
Album : Planet of Ice (3rd Domestic LP)
Release : 08.21.07
Year Founded : 2001
Label Name : Suicide Squeeze Records
Catalog # : 065
Packaging Type : Single-Disc Jewel Case
Members : David Knudson, Cory Murchy, Alex Rose, Jake Snider, Erin Tate
Runtime : 47:58
Area Tour Dates : 00.00.00 @ Venue, City
Sound Season : Fall, Winter
iTunes Worthy Tracks : Knights, Dr. L'Ling
Sounds Like : Cave In Antenna
Rating : C+

Minus the Bear's newest effort sounds a bit like complacency. Maybe its maturation (their song titles have gotten far less ridiculous: compare "Let's Play Guitar in a Five Guitar Band" to "Knights" and "Lotus") or maybe its a desire for more radio play or maybe its just stagnation, but Planet of Ice sounds like it has frozen the band's creative drive.

All the great elements from Menos El Oso are still there — the cross-hatched guitar that rips into the doorbell chimeyness of the other guitar, set off by slightly dreamy, slightly abrasive soaring vocal delivery — except the bass and the drums have been pushed back in the mix and get no extra attention in post production. They've been almost completely neglected. The drums simply sound like drums and the bass simply sounds like bass. Their character is gone. As a result, all of the moments that make your ears prick up are gone. There's really not much in the way of interesting song crafting, which — if anything — is the band's major draw. Instead, it's slightly psychedelic and jammy, sort of a bit like the Mars Volta before they got too crazy for their own straitjacket.

Songs like "The Fix" used to sound very tight, very compact, as if adding one more note or bend or flourish would burst the song's seams, like a little kid who cleans up his room by stuffing everything into the closet and then hopes it holds long enough for his mom to see. But Planet of Ice has so much extra room they could sub-let it to another band. "Part 2" for instance, is so open and airy it sounds like an entire fleet of paper airplanes could circle it skies.

Minus the Bear sound bored with themselves. The band is at its darkest and most galactic on this album. Menos El Oso was kind of like bringing a laptop to the beach whereas Planet of Ice is more like eating an ice cream cone in a cemetery.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Menos El Oso was kind of like bringing a laptop to the beach whereas Planet of Ice is more like eating an ice cream cone in a cemetery."