REVIEW: Minus The Bear – OMNIPosted: May 10, 2010
Minus The Bear are no strangers to deviation. The band has consistently evolved with each release they put out, much to their fans’ screaming delight.
However, I’m afraid that their fans might just be screaming now. Three days ago, the band released their fourth full-length and Dangerbird Records debut, Into The Mirror.
It is a common occurrence, when regarding new albums, for people to say that it is vastly inferior to a band’s previous work. Of course, when they say ‘previous work’ they mean material that they are personally fond of that existed prior to this new album’s release. This happens, for the most part, because the band takes a creative turn that doesn’t fall within what the listener feels is ‘in their character’.
Such is the case with OMNI. From it’s synth-heavy opener, “My Time”, to the brooding ball of bumpin’ balladry “Freeze-Frame Vision”,–ahem, I mean “Fooled By The Night” bringing the album to a close, it’s obvious that there is an unfamiliar air floating about this record. “Secret Country” sounds like an incredibly mediocre Circa Survive song with Jake Snider filling in for indie has-been Anthony Green on Uninteresting Vocals duty. “Hold Me Down” is a minor speed-bump in Snoresville with it’s small traces of Menos songwriting; the little annoying synth nuances trying their best to turn the track on it’s back as a full-fledged member of the OMNI club. The rest of this record sounds a lot like Jake Snider called everyone in the band and told them to be at some studio at midnight with all of their gear and when they all showed up, they see that he is much, much hairier than they remember him being. He reeks of weed and has painted the gigantic Grateful Dead stealie skull on the ceiling using melted studio equipment. He runs over to them and has them all sit down without saying a word or blinking an eye. He’s been in this studio for the past three weeks working on music for the new record and hasn’t had a wink of sleep. He walks up to the soundboard and stands before it looking at the rest of the guys with a twitchy eye through his naturally-formed dreadlocks. 20 seconds pass and Dave Knudson and Erin Tate begin exchanging uncomfortable glances. “I think you’re sitting on some patchouli oil.”, mouths Cory Murchy to Alex Rose while pointing at the seat of his rolling chair when suddenly, Jake, now hovering over the soundboard like a mad scientist over a helpless animal specimen, raises his arm with his pointer finger up signaling everyone to pay attention. When they do, he lowers his arm and sends his finger straight down onto the playback button and suddenly, the studio is filled with what sounds like loud, tribal drum dance beats. Experiencing a din unlike any other, the speakers begin to ooze some weird, colorless substance that spills to the floor and, as more pours out of the speakers, it begins to slowly cover the floor heading in the direction of the rest of the band’s feet. Dave says “What the fuck, Jake?” and gets up to leave but the ooze has caught his shoe. He yanks his foot out and tries to open the door to the studio and finds it locked. Frustrated, he pulls on the knob a couple of times and it disintegrates in his hand. He turns to Jake and sees him looking on at the rest of the band members with wide eyes and a smile on his face as they are slowly being engulfed by the colorless ooze. Jake’s attention is drawn to Dave at the door and he looks up and, without taking a step, moves towards Dave extending his right hand; the ooze covering him up to his chest now. In a voice much deeper than his own, Jake says “I’m afraid I can’t let you do that, Dave. Join us.” Frightened and bewildered now, Dave yells “NEVER!” and pulls out his cell phone to call 911 but a shaft of ooze shoots out and knocks it out of his hand and it falls into the ooze where it disintegrates. “You’re an ANIMAL!”, screams Dave with his final breaths before he is finally overtaken by the ooze. The studio is quiet now save for the slishing and sloshing noises made by the colorless ooze. Knowing it’s work is done, the ooze slowly retreats back into the speakers and Jake turns to the 27″ iMac running Pro Tools and begins typing. “I think I’ll call that one…Animal Backwards”. Five weeks later, the press photo you see above was shot.
I think you get my point. “Dayglow Vista Road” sounded pretty promising with it’s soft intro. It kind of sounds like it could be this album’s “Pachuca Sunrise”. Maybe it could save the album from Mediocre Hell. Slowly, it builds and builds and you think it’s going to sound great and then–BAM! another groovy jam.
Minus The Bear, I am disappoint.