Minus The Bear - VOIDS - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Minus The Bear - VOIDS

by Nathan Fidler Rating:5 Release Date:2017-03-03

Seattle based band Minus The Bear had their previous two albums pass us by somewhat. The electrifying form they found on Planet of Ice has failed to materialise on later efforts, but with VOIDS there is the feeling that they’re comfortable with the position they’re in.

With guitar and keyboard lines mirroring one another, they play a stylised alternative rock, sometimes described as being prog or math-rock, but in fact it comes across on this album as more sincere glam-rock in places.

It’s mostly down to the way the band have begun to chase the hook of every chorus. Where a verse plays on an interesting riff or stammer of guitars, on ‘Give & Take’ for example, they chuck the kitchen sink at the chorus without considering how it breaks the song. It’s possibly where they’ll get most joy, so it’s understandable to a point. 

‘What About The Boat?’ opens up honestly, describing a lack of sleep and anxiety “counting sheep until they started counting me”, but again the bridge into the chorus plays to a straight, MOR rock archetype. The urgency of old can be found on ‘Robotic Heart’, with drums slightly more frantic and guitars buzzing in rhythm with the keys, yet it still falls short. It seems cruel to hold a band to previous accolades, but it's not like this album is even a side-step into more interesting territory, it's the sound of settling.

Once described as a slicker version of The Mars Volta, this band has taken their foot off the gas in terms of quality, trading quirks for standards and falling away from being a band worth sitting up and listening to - the kind you can turn your friends onto without scaring them away.

As a passable listen the album is worth a shot, but there is nothing gripping or entertaining, the meditative and subdued feel they aim for is ruined by clamouring chorus lines and a distinct lack of unique style. What was once a stammering sophistication is now just sophistication with added sheen.

‘Last Kiss’ helpfully sums the album up with the line “Every love gets a last kiss, everyone becomes the enemy” as well as with the fact that it captures the best mixtures of their old style with some of their more commercial appeal.

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