Seattle has spawned an army of good – no, great – bands over the years. It’s, no doubt, one the music capitals of the world. One of said bands is Minus The Bear, formed in 2001. VOIDS is the name of their latest full-length album, the sixth in their career. So, after all these years, have they still got it?
Well, in short, yes. See, Minus The Bear ditched the record label with whom they worked on both Omni (2010, Dangerbird) and Infinity Overhead (2012, Dangerbird) and returned to Suicide Squeeze Records, the label who watched them grow. VOIDS also marked the departure of drummer Erin Tate after 14 years in the band due to (you guessed it) creative differences.
VOIDS feels… awkward. Bare with me, let me explain. Yes, it is closer to Menos El Oso (2005, Suicide Squeeze) and Planet Of Ice (2007, Suicide Squeeze) than it is to Omni and Infinity Overhead. A return to roots, if you may. Yes, their signature sound is still there (albeit a bit more settled down, grown up). It is nostalgic (in a good way) and thought out. BUT. It appears to constantly be on a leash, muting the most inspired bursts of their “math rock” (ugh) sound that fans learned to love and yearn. There are hints of it (“Silver“, “Give & Take“, “Invisible” — arguably the album’s best track), but…
On the other hand, when they DO deliver (and yeah, they do), they light up with fireworks and electricity and one can only imagine what the live show must feel like at the receiving end of the speakers during their strongest tracks (sadly, yours truly has yet to see MTB live).
*Sigh* Look, in the end, what really matters is that they are back with new, brilliant music. It really is, even though it struggles at times to find itself. Overall, VOIDS is full with very good, pure, rock and roll, beautiful, soulful tracks (listen to “Erase“. God), and some mellower tunes to appease our ever-grayer hairline. Good music 🙂
Catch them on tour here. Meanwhile, listen to VOIDS below.