Album Review: Minus the Bear – Omni

[Dangerbird; 2010]

Fresh sounds, steady tempos, and relatively heavier electronics highlight this latest release from Seattle’s Minus the Bear. Seemingly taking a more straightforward approach, Omni feels like an end to the linear progression of the band’s sound in recent years.

A characteristic of earlier Minus the Bear releases is raw production and quality usage of effects. Previous releases like Highly Refined Pirates and This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic possessed that stripped down sound of prior releases. They kept the dynamicity intact. You won’t find too much of that on Omni, though. While maintaining a fresh sound, a few of the songs ride on the same guitar riffs and less than average lyrical repetition for the duration of the track.

Aside from the few discrepancies with recurrence, this album has some excellent traits. Setting it apart from the band’s preceding work, it’s not hard to tell that they got what they wanted. There’s a lot of confidence in these songs. If they were trying to create bigger, louder songs, it was accomplished. In spite of this, it occasionally comes off as trying a little too hard. Nevertheless, the melodies are new and the distinctive Minus the Bear rhythmic qualities are still there, which really goes a long way.

Omni is a big step in the final statement of what the band’s former records have been leaning towards. Overall, it has a louder pop sound and less of a dreamy, flowing guitar tone we’re used to from Minus the Bear. It’s an energetic summer album that’s meant for outdoors. Omni’s immense sound could very well cause a division of old school Minus the Bear fans, while its accessibility could engage a new variety of supporters.