The De Mello Rating – ****
Before Kings of Leon turned into one of the biggest bands in the world, self-destructed and took an extended hiatus they were considered by many to be the ‘00’s equivalent to AC/DC. They were loud, they were brash, and they had fun, fast, energetic songs that didn’t make you think too much, but were exciting nonetheless. They’re off doing their own thing now and frankly their last album showed they really need to take some time away to catch their breath. That’s bad for us, except now we have a band that seems ready to take their mantle.
Minus the Bear (greatest name ever) has been around since 2001, so they aren’t new by any means, but they’re also not as widely regarded as they should be. This is a band that came out of the post-grunge wreckage of the ‘90’s unscathed and really have made a name for themselves as a hard working band with their touring and release of this their fifth full length album.
Infinity Overhead is the sounds of huge guitars, pounding drums and acerbic vocals that cut through the bullshit and right to the heart of what rock music is all about. There is no reason, none at all, that this band cannot become one of the biggest bands in the world. Their appeal is evident in their track “Steel and Blood” that speaks of love, booze and sadness so effortlessly and with such charm that it seems like second nature.
What Minus the Bear have that the Kings of Leon did not have or do not have is an intelligence that puts them above the rest. That could be where, perhaps, they get lost in the shuffle. Intelligence isn’t as valued as it once was and it seems when you turn on one of the myriad of television stations or listen to the literally hundreds of albums that come out on any given day there are people trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator of society. These people simply don’t care enough to try and enrich the lives of those they deem to be on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic or educational ladder.
Minus the Bear seems to approach that differently by expressing their world view with a style that is both heartfelt, fun and yet doesn’t dumb down the conversation. While Kings of Leon sang about using somebody, Minus the Bear says, “Every blink you give away I lose”. Deftly explaining how every moment matters, how every turn of the head, every smile and every blink matter of factly given away to time. This album is a hard rocking venture into the side of rockers we rarely see and I for one applaud it.
Best Song: Heaven is a Ghost Town – I think this song really symbolizes Minus the Bears’ versatility. This song really is a bit more proggy than the rest of the songs, but it also has that “In the Air Tonight” Phil Collins feel about, which if we’re being honest is Collins’ best song. It also feels like something the Doors would’ve done. It has a very drugged out Indian type of feel and man I just fucking dig it.
Minus the Bear is on tour now.
Infinity Overhead is available here.