Long established on the indie scene, Minus The Bear can hardly be accused of inconsistency if at times acute innovation appears to have been slightly lacking in previous efforts. They are a band that has evolved over each album, building on their math rock sound and incorporating further developments in the guise of electronic and occasional dance sounds as revealed in their controversial hit-or-miss last album ‘OMNI’. However, here with their latest album ‘Infinity Overhead’ they have reverted back to their roots somewhat with their math-indie rock hybrid and impressively expanded upon their song-writing skills to create their maturest effort yet.
The summery tinges of OMNI’s memory dissipates in Infinity Overhead as lead guitarist, Dave Knudson, calculates through the album with a gritty exposition of math rock, the notes more determined and the riffs almost as unpredictable as the band’s own musical direction. This path permeates through the album’s first few tracks as the band opens up with ‘Blood and Steel’, a song that distils erratic time signatures over an accessible progressively-layered rock number and flows into the melancholic and sombre sounding ‘Diamond Lightning’ that parallels their former experimental psychedelic album ‘Planet of Ice’. The penmanship is also evidently a lot stronger and cohesive here as well, as Snider opts for a mature direction and drives the band away from the lustful imagery of sexual innuendo which peppered their last album ‘OMNI’, discussing loneliness in lyrical highlight, ‘Heaven Is A Ghost Town’; “And since they outlawed love/it gets too cold/there’s no one to hold/there’s no one here/heaven is a ghost town” and dysfunction in ‘Empty Party Rooms’; “So let’s keep it boxed up/a fiction we don’t know we’re living/pretending we have time to take until we get it”.
As the tempo slows, Snider picks up into center-stage, easing in his vocals over the smooth funk riffs in tracks such as ‘Empty Party Rooms’, to soothe the album into a calming and sedated place, before emphatically picking up tempo into the latter depths of the thumping beats of ‘Zeros’ and in penultimate track ‘Lonely Gun’ where aching lyrics are traded off against a backdrop of crashing hooks and the band’s progressive roots are teased with a brief saxophone encounter, before closing the party with a cataclysmic electronic explosion on album finale ‘Cold Company’. Whilst ‘Infinity Overhead’ doesn’t give the band it’s opportunity to explore new musical depths it does allow them to nostalgically revisit several areas from their musical career to date, giving them a platform to retouch their roots after wandering so far astray with ‘OMNI’ and the result is a wonderful expose of their math and indie rock sound.
Overall: ‘Infinity Overhead’ is a sweeping return to form for the band and is an album that sees them re-explore their musical roots with a gritty show of math-rock.
Recommended Songs: ‘Blood And Steel’, ‘Diamond Lightning’, ‘Toska’ and ‘Heaven Is A Ghost Town’.