Minus The Bear are known for their unique, progressive style of meshing indie-pop and math-rock with jazzy and sometimes almost surreal notes. Jake Snider’s voice is soothing and comfortable no matter what the mood of the song is. Their lyrics are usually narrative and sometimes a little more on the abstract end of the spectrum. They have created a distinct signature sound that any listener is sure to fall in love with.
After forming in 2001 and releasing Highly Refined Pirates in 2002, Seattle-based Minus The Bear finally hit the charts in 2005 with the release of their sophomore album Menos El Oso. This was a daring and brilliant album to emerge with. They gave math rock a whole new sound. Planet of Ice was their first album to hit the US billboard, so if you were a fan of that album then you are in luck. It was actually produced by former Minus The Bear keyboard and synth player, Matt Bayles and he returned to produce their new album, Infinity Overhead.
The much anticipated release of Infinity Overhead was anything but a disappointment. They have delivered yet another true and solid album. Snider said “I don’t know if this is our darkest record, it has more contrast but it definitely has some bright points. The darks are darker and the brights are brighter.” It begins with the gritty guitar intro of “Steel And Blood”, the dark story of a car crash to a contrasting upbeat rhythm. The words “I’ll be by your bedside when you come to, come to me” are sung, apparently to the girl who has been injured and falls unconscious. “Zeros” sounds like older Minus The Bear but with a newer, chill, synth-filled vibe. The catchy single, “Lonely Gun” touches on depression and the dark thoughts that come with it. This isn’t a new subject for them, but the sound is a lot heavier. They end the album with “Cold Company”, which brings the angst back hard, and is one of the best end tracks I have heard in a while.
Fans have complained that Minus The Bear lost their touch after Planet Of Ice, but any true fan will be able to appreciate their growth through two different keyboardists and two label changes in the past few years. Their success is no surprise with an absolutely all-star line-up. Each musician is incredibly talented and the writing is always on point. They definitely still have the “touch” and I’ll be regularly listening to Infinity Overhead until their next album.