Minus The Bear: OMNI


While a quirky, spastic nerd-rock album seems to be the go-to format for many of today’s budding musicians, it’s refreshing to hear a 10-year-old Seattle band show ’em how it’s done.


This record, on its surface, may sound like another ’80s throwback, synthesizer-spiced space jam, but Minus the Bear’s equation comes off more measured than, say, the last great album from Seattle peersModest Mouse. While OMNI‘s title might imply MtB’s desire to be everything to everyone, there’s no posturing, no faking it from these composers. And though he’s no Evan Dando from a lyrical perspective, Jake Snider’s strong vocal style on "Excuses" mirrors the poppy sweetness of ’90s-era Lemonheads songs like "Confetti." Dave Knudson clearly never leaves home without his effect pedal, but his infectious, melodic guitar hooks on "Summer Angel" and "Fooled by the Night" keep the record’s planetary texture grounded.  


MtB’s follow-up approach to its 2007 indie success, Planet of Ice, should be noted for its reach and risk. For OMNI, MtB’s fourth album, the band signed with underground label Dangerbird, secured an outside producer and recorded much of the record straight through as a live quintet. Overdubs and backmasking effects are present, albeit sparingly, throughout a work that relies heavily on Alex Rose’s keyboard. Rose knows when to hold back from overpowering bassist Cory Murchy, and drummer Erin Tate’s precision sounds on par with that of a metronome on the powerful rockers "Secret Country" and "My Time."


What’s so refreshing about these Bonnaroo alumni is their willingness to put in the necessary effort. They may owe much of that to producer Joe Chiccarelli, whose quality work with the White Stripes, My Morning Jacket and the Shins shines through on OMNI. Repeated listens prove OMNI‘s consistency and ability to flow for almost an hour without hitting much of a lull. It’s a relevant slice of contemporary progressive rock from Minus the Bear, and you can’t take that away from them.

Related Content

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide