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Music Review: Minus the Bear – Acoustics

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Packed with folk adventurousness and a sort of simplistic style, Minus the Bear’s Acoustics is a nice EP for sitting out on the porch and dreaming of summer. And in many ways, it sounds as though Acoustics was created on just such a porch with perhaps the light sounds of wind in the trees seeping into the recording equipment.

This seven-track EP was originally released in digital format and as an exclusive limited edition tour release on CD. Now, Vinyl Collective has their hands on it and is poised to release it on vinyl with a limit of 5,000 copies.

Minus the Bear, based out of Seattle, has released an almost equal number of EPs and LPs. In many ways, the EP has been just as important for this group of indie rockers. Yet there is a feeling that Acoustics, which features six old songs and one new song done up with acoustic instruments (for the most part), is working as a temporary solution between LPs.

Whatever the case may be, there’s still plenty to like about Acoustics and its gentle, swaying sounds.

There is a certain lazy, laid-back energy about Acoustics that makes it a bit of a soft recording. The songs are sprinkled with tasty, easily digestible morsels of acoustic guitar and soft, pattering drums. Vocalist Jake Snider sounds relatively disengaged, almost as though he’s staring off into space as he sings. Interestingly, it works like a charm.

The EP kicks off with the new cut, “Guns & Ammo.” The swirling guitar is sugary sweet and nicely layered. Snider is removed and carefree, offering his vocals with easiness.

“Knights,” taken from Planet of Ice, is one of the most dynamic songs on the EP. It makes for a good driving song as Erin Tate’s drums accent the cut like highway signs. Also from Planet of Ice, “Ice Monster” crackles with atmosphere. “It’s come to this,” repeats Snider as Tate’s percussion beats out a solid groove.

Acoustics makes for a nice little piece of music and most Minus the Bear fans will want this vinyl presentation or will already have it on CD or digital formats. Others new to the band would be better suited tracking down a full LP, like 2007’s Planet of Ice, in order to get a better sense of what this band can do.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • Charlie Doherty

    Nice review, Jordan. I did one for this EP as well back in October, right before I saw them live in Boston – for the 6th or 7th time, I’ve lost count.

    MTB is one of the more underrated bands and Dave Knudson one of the more underrated guitarists of the decade. But they’ve built a nice, steady career for themselves and sell out shows everywhere every time they tour (which is every year). And yes, their EPs are very well worth purchasing, especially their first one, the “Gigantic” EP. Great stuff all around.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing them live, but have certainly enjoyed their work so far.