|Minus the Bear — Menos El Oso (2005)|
≡ Sophisticated math rock band that balances smarts with fun.
≡ “Menos el Oso ultimately stumbles on its own self–conscious maturity. Yes, the outlandishly long song titles and sophomoric lyrics have mostly vanished, but "El Torrente" and "The Pig War" don't need to take cues from sopor–groups Karate or Death Cab for Cutie. Still, whether or not Minus the Bear ever fulfill their once prodigious expectations is irrelevant at this point. They ain't exactly blue chip prospects anymore, but I can settle for a solid, developed role player.” — Adam Moerder
Location: Seattle, Washington
Album release: August 23, 2005
Recorded: Studio Litho, The Bat Cave, Aquahaus
Record Label: Suicide Squeeze
01. The Game Needed Me (3:15)
02. Memphis & 53rd (3:41)
03. Drilling (5:04)
04. The Fix (3:32)
05. El Torrente (4:56)
06. Pachuca Sunrise (3:35)
07. Michio's Death Drive (3:36)
08. Hooray (4:17)
09. Fulfill The Dream (3:24)
10. The Pig War (4:38)
11. This Ain't A Surfin' Movie (4:53)
≡ Jake Snider — Vocals & Guitar
≡ Dave Knudson — Guitar
≡ Erin Tate — Drums
≡ Cory Murchy — Bass
≡ Matt Bayles — Electronics
≡ Additional Production by Chris Common
≡ Engineered by Matt Bayles, Chris Common, and Jake Snider
≡ Additional Engineering by Alex Rose
≡ Mixed by Matt Bayles
≡ Mastered by Ed Brooks
≡ Produced by Minus the Bear.
≡ Additional production by Chris Common.
≡ Mixed by Matt Bayles at Robert Lang Studios.
≡ Engineered by Matt Bayles, Chris Common, and Jake Snider. Additional engineering by Alex Rose.
≡ Recorded at Studio Litho, The Bat Cave, and Aquahaus. Mastered by Ed Brooks at RFI.
≡ Design by David Knudson.
≡ Photography by Cory Murchy and Erin Tate.
≡ "Virtuoso musicianship + smart songwriting = Seth Cohen's wet dream" — URB
≡ "Three years removed from the riveting full-length debut, 'Highly Refined Pirates', this highly stylized Seattle indie–pop group flaunts substantial glitch–riddled prog–pop on their second Suicide Squeeze full–length. Weaving through territories long established by '70s prog–rockers (Yes, Rush), '80s proto punks (Fugazi), and '90s art rock mind–f*cks (Jawbox, Joan Of Arc), Minus The Bear invoke the modern love affair between dance driven strategy and lush, Upper Pacific sweater rock. Features appearances by Judah Nagler and Josh Staples (The Velvet Teen), Michael Richardson (The New Trust), and Heather Duby."
Review by Jason MacNeil; Score: ***½
≡ Minus the Bear continue their brand of quirky–cum–arty rock with light, airy harmonies and somewhat experimental guitars on "The Game Needed Me" as lead singer Jake Snider doles out lines in the vein of Cake's lead singer. Partially spoken, partially sung, the overall effort is decent but wouldn't whet everyone's sonic palette. ≡ "Memphis & 53rd" on the other hand begins with an almost drum'n'bass flavor prior to going into a quasi ska–rock format recalling a timid English Beat. Musically it's a collage of different genres, with the chorus melding them all adequately. Minus the Bear finally hits paydirt on the mid–tempo but inviting "Drilling," fuelled by the drumming of Erin Tate and the guitar work of Snider and David Knudson. At times it's not quite guitar "noodling," but the melodies revolve around intricate and winding riffs as they do on "The Fix," which builds in momentum. When the band opts for a pedestrian, atmospheric pace as they do on "El Torrente," it seems to fall flat, more of a breather or experimental filler than anything truly worth repeated listens. Catchier is "Pachuca Sunrise" with a great hop in its step that brings to mind something that Death Cab for Cutie might attempt at some point. Perhaps the highlight of the record is the barren and radio–friendly urgent rock displayed during "Michio's Death Drive" with its keyboard touches. It comes off as a fusing of the Police and the Strokes to some extent. "Hooray" keeps this frantic, frenetic pace going with some down time splintered throughout. What misses the mark totally, however, is the average but unspectacular "Pig War."
Review by Adam Turner-Heffer; Average: 2.5
By Adam Moerder; August 23, 2005; Score: 7.1
Reviewed by: Scott Weber (11/21/05)
Lasting Value 9.5
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Final Verdict: 93%
≡ Matt Bayles Engineer, Group Member, Member of Attributed Artist, Mixing
≡ Ed Brooks Mastering
≡ Chris Common Additional Production, Audio Production, Engineer, Percussion
≡ Heather Duby Additional Personnel, Guest Artist, Vocals
≡ David Knudson Design, Group Member, Member of Attributed Artist
≡ Cory Murchy Group Member, Member of Attributed Artist, Photography
≡ Judah Nagler Additional Personnel, Guest Artist, Vocals
≡ Michael Richardson Guest Artist, Vocals
≡ Michael Richardson Additional Personnel, Vocals
≡ Alex Rose Engineer
≡ Jake Snider Engineer, Group Member, Member of Attributed Artist
≡ Josh Staples Additional Personnel, Guest Artist, Vocals
≡ Erin Tate Group Member, Member of Attributed Artist, Photography
|Minus the Bear — Menos El Oso (2005)|