:: Summit Music Hall :: November 5 ::
By Lindsay Allen
Usually, band name derivations aren’t all that attention grabbing, but Minus the Bear defies that old lackluster tedium. They chose their name based on an inside joke — a friend of the band had gone on a date and when they asked him how the date went, he replied something along the lines of, “You know that TV show from the ’70s called “B.J. and the Bear?” It was like that…minus the Bear.”
Brimming with hard-hitting guitar energy and grandiose emotions, Minus the Bear’s fifth full-length studio album, Infinity Overhead, hit the streets late this summer on Dangerbird Records and has been received with praise since.
To create the record they had in mind, the seasoned Seattle-based quintet reunited with Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Isis, Cursive), former founding member and producer of the band’s acclaimed albums Planet Of Ice and Menos El Oso, to create a guitar-laden 10-track record that is heavy on the mechanics of pop songcraft and rediscovers the band doing what they do best — remarkable, guitar-based rock.
“We’ve done most of our records with him so it really was kind of the most comfortable situation we could have found ourselves in,” lead vocalist and guitarist Jake Snider said during a recent interview with The Marquee. “We didn’t have to spend much time or any time on getting to know somebody or the normal orientation that happens when you’re dealing with somebody new. We just got to the studio and got to work.”
A comfortable revolution from their previous affairs, Infinity Overhead reveals the band in their most aggressive and confident mindset yet.
“I guess it’s because we were really finished writing the record when we got into the studio, we really knew where we were going with it. We wanted to make sure the guitars were at the forefront for more of a guitar-oriented record, but most of the lyrics were written after we started recording. Just because the songs sounded more aggressive I think the lyrics were less sad and less about romance and more about the post-romance aspect of relationships,” Snider said.
The band, consisting of Snider, Dave Knudson (guitar), Cory Murchy (bass), Alex Rose (synths/vocals) and Erin Tate (drums), went to work on their fifth album in their hometown of Seattle. From January to April of 2012, they holed up at London Bridge Studio and Bayles’ Red Room Recording Studio to craft a sonically complex yet melodically rich, mature album. The outcome is an impeccable release that captures the passion and energy experienced at a live show, in part because of the recording process that the band chose.
“We tried to keep as much from the live tracking as possible. A lot of times, bands will go for getting the drums right and then overdubbing the rest of it. We really tried to get the basic tracks from everyone to be usable as often as possible and then kind of augmented it after the fact,” Snider said.
Every song on Infinity Overhead is intriguing in its own facet. On “Lies and Eyes,” Snider resonates about deception in a relationship over stabbing, frenetic guitars and groovitational synths. The song quickly builds to a soaring and intense climax of persuasive guitar and pleading drumming before settling back down into a bed of tremolo guitar and Snider singing, “Pick up the pieces of these words shattered across the floor, with careful hands you know these words are sharp, and you can read the blood.”
“Diamond Eyes,” which gives rise to the album title Infinity Overhead, is smooth and melodious. From the jaunty, acoustic “Listing,” to the shimmering melancholia of “Heaven Is A Ghost Town” and the poppy synth-fueled “Zeros,” to the abrasive rock of album closer “Cold Company,” it might be the most varied record of the band’s career. The tropical-esque vibe of “Toska” turned out to be lead singer Jake Snider’s personal favorite.
“It wasn’t my favorite before we got on tour. The performance aspect of it made it my favorite; to have it be that kind of live animal changed my feelings about it,” Snider said.
Minus the Bear has done a stellar job with this album and will soon be embarking on a 25-city tour with Cursive and Girl in a Coma that lasts just under four weeks and wraps up in their hometown of Seattle.
:: Minus the Bear ::
:: Summit Music Hall :: November 5 ::
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