Sound — 10
Minus the Bear, a Seattle band formed in 2001, including members from bands such as Botch, Sharks Keep Moving, and Kill Sadie. Minus the Bear's sound is a combination of Erin Tate's upbeat and driving drum beats, Cory Murchy's Supporting Bass lines, Dave Knudson's distinguished guitar tapping, Alex Rose's keyboards and synthesizer's and Jake Snider's neutral voice. Each of these pieces are vital in Minus the Bear's sound and without one it just wouldn't be the same. For their newest CD, Planet of Ice, it seems as though they've decided to change there style a bit. For example, on the track entitled "Burying Luck" you can here Snider's voice rise to a slight scream, which is a good thing, shows more emotion. Also, being a fan of Knudson's guitar playing, and being a guitarist myself have noticed that he ceased to tap as much he did on 2002's release "Highly Refined Pirates", and is more towards 2005's "Menos el Oso"'s DL-4 technique. There is nothing wrong with that and definitely contributes to the change in style.
Lyrics — 9
On Previous albums, Snider always seemed to sing about partying, and getting with ladies, but not in a "rock-star" fashion, in a laid back, calmer sense. It seems to fit the mood of the music perfectly. On Planet of Ice Snider has seemed to "evolve" along with the album itself. As for vocal talent, I don't think Snider's voice would be among the better singers, but his voice itself sets the mood of the music.
Overall Impression — 9
01. Burying Luck - the opening song for Planet of Ice. Best vocal work on the CD, also my favorite bass line towards the middle while Snider and Rose sing "What have you done?" which then goes into a guitar part which I originally thought was someone whistling, but then was surprisingly mistaken.
02. ice Monster - a song that I really didn't find to sound exactly like Minus the Bear, but still a good and catchy song.
03. Knights - this song is one of my favorite Minus the Bear songs, which has an awesome jam towards the end which I always can't wait for when listening to it.
04. White Mystery - this song requires multiple listens, at first I didn't like it to much, but I just re-introduced myself to it, and found it to be quite interesting. Nice DL-4 work in this song.
05. Dr. L'ling - least favorite song on the CD, besides the Mars Volta-esque part in the middle.
06. Part 2 - only acoustic song, pretty good, the end is awesome.
07. Throwin' Shapes - this song is just under three minutes, but every second of it is Minus the Bear goodness, and is well worth multiple listens.
08. When We Escape - starts off with an organ sounding synthesizer, has a quick 20 second jam 2x in the song making this song one of my favorites.
09. Double Vision Quest - this song has the most complicated guitar parts in it of the entire CD and is a good listen.
10. Lotus - the nine minute closer. At first I didn't like this song to much, but it grew on me, and I've come to the conclusion that the easiest way to describe this song is; Minus the Bear meets Pink Floyd.
Overall, I think this is the least "foot-tapping" of there releases, but composed fairly better than there previous releases. In my opinion from best to worst the album's go from Highly Refined Pirates, Planet Of Ice, Menos El Oso.