Highly Refined Pirates review by Minus the Bear

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  • Released: Nov 19, 2002
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.8 (13 votes)
Minus the Bear: Highly Refined Pirates

Sound — 10
This was Minus The Bear's first full-length album and they definitely established their trademark sound right away. Minus The Bear's guitars are what mainly stand out in their music. They contain driving, poppy melodies loaded with effects. In some songs, the guitars sound almost like synthesizers. This helps to blend in with their actual synth player and create a nice blend of sound (ex. the song 'Get Me Naked 2: Electric Boogaloo'). Although, it's rare to hear any genuine distortion found in punk or other bands. The singer Jake Snider has a sort of monotone and lulling voice that compliments the dreamy harmonics of the guitars. In addition to all the crazy guitars, talented drummer Erin Tate lays down eratic and complicated drum lines that are sure to make your foot tap. It's very hard to place these guys in a specific genre according to their sound. They could be called electronic, alternative, or progressive. This leads me to put them in a more general genre like indie, since they are an independent and fairly underground band.

Lyrics — 8
My impression of the lyrics are that like most songs, the lyrics have something to do with the song title. Here, the song titles are irrelevant and kind of funny, for example, 'I Lost All My Money At The Cock Fights' and 'Hey, Wanna Throw Up?' The lyrics are very spacy and sound like they illustrate a dream someone might have. The song 'Thanks For the Killer Game Of Crisco Twister' is about a group of people buying boats and sailing up the coast to a cabin where they had dinner and drinks. Besides the song title being totally ridiculous, this sort of fantasty-like songwriting is found all throughout the record. Also, there are several other references to sailing and traveling which may bring some meaning to the album name, 'Highly Refined Pirates'. Songs that reference this are 'Spritz! Spritz!', 'Monkey! Knife! Fight!', and 'Women We Haven't Met Yet'.

Overall Impression — 10
Personally, I can't compare Minus The Bear to anyone else. I could spend hours listening to this album or any of them for that matter. The most impressive songs off Highly Refined Pirates are, to me, 'Spritz! Spritz!' and 'We Are Not The Football Team'. I haven't found anything to hate about them. Some bands fall victim to repetitiveness. Minus The Bear is constantly changing it up with every measure, be it a slightly different drum pattern, new guitar lick, or a synth. Buy this album!

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    great album i love the guitar work on it. definitely one of the best progressive albums i have ever heard.