Reviews Minus the Bear They Make Beer Commercials Like This

Minus the Bear

They Make Beer Commercials Like This

It was roughly a year and half ago at the South by Southwest Music Festival that I was able to witness one of the greatest shows of my life. After running amuck through the streets of Austin, I finally came to rest at the showcase I had been anticipating since its announcement. I was lucky enough to accidentally witnessed Hella, and that was a pleasant surprise. But the real reason I was there was to see Minus the Bear, or as I affectionately call them "Amazing" the Bear.

The first thing that I noticed when I popped They Make Beer Commercials Like This into my CD player was that the use of electronics was much for profound this time around. Matt Bayles, yes the super-producer god, has become a more intricate member of Minus the Bear. His work is no longer confined to interludes. Many might feel that messing with a working formula is a bad idea. But they haven't heard this EP yet.

"Fine + 2 Pts" is a fun and dancey indie rock jam. The song is characteristic of what Minus the Bear has done in the past, but jazzed up. Combining David Knudson's finger tapping skills and the use of Bayles' synths creates a sound somewhat similar to that of The Faint. "Lets Play Clowns!" is definitely my favorite track on this release. I especially love the drum work of Erin Tate on this song. Whether he is providing the core rhythm to the song or adding unique drum fills, Tate executes perfectly. The song ends in a perfect rock-out moment as Knudson's guitars mesh with Tate's drumming, evoking a feeling comparable to the best orgasm of your life. "Dog Park," like the previous two tracks is a lot more rock oriented than the material found on Highly Refined Pirates. But despite the minor change in direction, the band performs brilliantly. "I'm Totally Not Down with Rob's Alien" is a slight departure from previous Minus the Bear material. The music of the song is a lot more subtle than what we're used to from the band. This time around there are no finger-tapping guitars or fast-paced drumming, everything is slowed down; think Karate or later Fugazi. Coupled with the beautifully written music are the reflective lyrics of vocalist Jake Snider: "I swim out as far as I can / and float on my back / just waiting for nothing / it's a lot more fun alone." One thing that hasn't changed is that the band always has such witty titles. This time around the trophy goes to "Hey! Is That a Ninja up There?," which is another rocking tune in which Snider speaks of a glorious night of raging; "...the law says we should stop / so we break a couple more / with the windows all down / we just throw the cans out..." The EP rounds out with "Pony Up!," another toned down track that featuring Bayles sensual keyboards that are emphasized by Snider's knack for being poetic about "hooking up."

The production on this EP is dead on as Bayles continues his warpath of producing and mixing everything from Mastodon and Isis to The Blood Brothers and Roy. The man can conquer any genre, and does so with great skill.

Since releasing their first EP, This is What I Know about Being Gigantic, Minus the Bear has continued to grow by leaps and bounds. Each release creates greater expectations and yet they exceeded with the greatest of ease.

10.0 / 10Michael
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