Similar types of tightly played single-note dual guitar riffs by Snider and Knudson highlight another EP (and Planet) standout “Knights,” a track the band performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live this past summer. Also performed on that late night show was another Planet standout, the cheerful math rocker “Throwin’ Shapes.” On the acoustic version, drummer Erin Tate slows down the song’s tempo considerably, which enhances rather than hamper’s the tune’s bouncy – in the vein of Vampire Weekend – character, as it allows the other instruments to stand out a little more.
On personal favorite “Ice Monsters,” Knudson and Snider, instead of playing the carefully crafted three-part intro/verse riffs on acoustic guitar the same way they played them on electric guitar on the album – hitting the same exact notes but playing them an octave apart from each other – Knudson plays the main melody by himself while Snider plays brighter, bittersweet riffs higher up on his acoustic. On top of that, Rose layers some quiet Rhodes-ish piano chords of his own. In all, this is a fitting version of a song about among other things, convincing a dude to get over losing a girl.
Fans eager to hear how MTB translates some of its earlier work to acoustic guitar only get two old tracks. Both have their own unique characteristics, but one is better than the other. From the Pirates CD is “We Are Not A Football Team,” a song with an amusing, nonsensical title – Minus The Bear was known for quite a while as the band with funny song names and album titles. On Acoustics, gone are the echo-laden guitar and vocal parts that gave this song – another one about girls – its romantic, twilight-like feel. You might miss those qualities, but Knudson’s harmonic guitar work and the band’s super melodic bridge section are the tune’s true highlights. Thus, the acoustic version is a winner.
“Pachuca Sunrise,” from Menos El Oso, has an almost totally different rhythm and sound to it on acoustic; gone are the danceable beats in the chorus and Knudson’s delay/echo and other high-pitched guitar effects that characterized the song. The little bit of improvised jamming Knudson and Snider do toward the song’s end is a plus, but overall, the album version is the better of the two and moves you more, IMO.