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Menos el Oso

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Album Review

Minus the Bear continue their brand of quirky-c*m-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."

Biography

Formed: 2001 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

With catchy song titles like "Hey, Wanna Throw Up? Get Me Naked," "Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!," and "Lemurs, Man, Lemurs," it's hard not to be at least a little bit curious about this Seattle-based quintet. Featuring members of Botch, Kill Sadie, and Sharks Keep Moving, Minus the Bear emerged on Seattle's music scene in 2001 with the release of their six-song EP This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic. The band comprised guitarist Dave Knudson, vocalist/guitarist Jake Snider, drummer Erin Tate,...
Full Bio
Menos el Oso, Minus the Bear
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