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Planet of Ice


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Audio CD, August 21, 2007
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Planet of Ice + MENOS EL OSO [Vinyl] + Omni (2 LP) [Vinyl]
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

For the past six years, Seattle's Minus the Bear have orbited the music world like a distant meteor, fine-tuning their brand of indie rock and discovering how technology can help enhance the band's unique pop vision all of which is about to culminate with their latest full-length Planet of Ice, an album showing the band not so much transforming their sound as transcending it. Although the band has released a handful of EPs and two full-lengths in their prolific career (most recently 2005's Menos El Oso and the sister remix CD Interpretaciones Del Oso), with Planet of Ice the band which now features new keyboardist Alex Rose have taken their brand of idiosyncratic indie rock to new heights. I feel like this is the most cohesive record we've done, bassist Cory Murchy says. I hate the term 'organic,' but that's the one term I can think of when comparing this to our other records because there's a lot of weird electronic stuff going on there, but there's some really raw riffage as well.

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Minus the Bear's Planet of Ice marks the Seattle band's third full-length release (not counting three EPs and a remix album), and achieves an effect as spacious and blinding white as the landscape the title evokes. Psychedelia and math rock are here in equal parts, making for a somewhat bi-polar listening experience--the excellent "Part 2" opens with a downright Pink Floydian acoustic guitar before winding up to a driving circuitous conclusion, while nine-minute closer "Lotus" reels all over the stylistic map, starting and stopping in a mini-suite of hammering guitars and vaporous keyboards. Most songs keep well away from a standard verse-chorus structure, with lyric and instrumental passages stitched together like some indie rock Frankenstein (tracks are occasionally book-ended by wittily realized sonic manipulations that might cause the listener to check the CD for skips), but Minus the Bear keeps the melodies potent and the emotion high enough to prevent Planet of Ice from drifting into impenetrable shoe-gazer territory. --Ben Heege

1. Burying Luck
2. Ice Monster
3. Knights
4. White Mystery
5. Dr. L'Ling
6. Part 2
7. Throwin' Shapes
8. When We Escape
9. Double Vision Quest
10. Lotus

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 21, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Suicide Squeeze
  • ASIN: B000RLW5J6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,148 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jay on August 26, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Well, first of all I must say that this is most likely not the type of album that you'll instantly love on the first listen. I've been through it about 10 times and it has grown on me immensely. Whether you're new to the band or an avid fan, however, this album may not be for everyone. It is darker, has a more psychedelic sound, and is more complex than their previous efforts. The smooth, easy-going sound of older songs such as "Pachuca Sunrise" are mostly replaced by a more ominous and intricate sound. It may take several listens to fully appreciate.

The band has certainly matured and its sound has, for lack of a better word, evolved. Songs like "Part 2" feature a more mellow acoustic sound, and "Double Vision Quest" and "Lotus" feature the band experimenting with more complex song structures, and it the case of the latter, an all-out 8 minute jam. Covering more familiar territory is the track "Ice Monster," which pairs a great light-sounding instrumental backdrop with a chorus so addictive you'll want it to put it on repeat.

On the surface, though, you will find the catchy guitar hooks, brilliant odd time signature drumming, and soaring vocals that are a trademark of the band. Songs such as "Knights" and "Throwin Shapes" will probably seem most like old-school Minus The Bear. All in all I highly recommend that you do yourself a favor and get this album. If anything, you'll feel like you've experienced something entirely original and refreshing (which, by the way is almost completely lacking in today's pop music scene).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By UltraJoeBot on October 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD
When we last left Seattle's indie superheroes Minus The Bear in 2005, they had just released the pseudo-self-titled Menos El Oso, a flawless math-pop album featuring perfectly tight compositions with tasteful guitar-tapping heroics set to danceable grooves. The album had such an impact, it even warranted a collection of remixes, Interpretaciones Del Oso, released in February. The writing was more complex and deliberate than their previous work, the songs more fully-realized with lush arrangements and catchy choruses.

The most striking change evident on their new album Planet Of Ice, is the loose and almost epic feel to the songs. The band is less concerned with formulaic structures and memorable hooks, and more focused on creating dense textures and soundscapes, trading in Menos El Oso's pop sensibilities for prog unison lines, thick vocal layering, and even the occasional guitar solo. Replacement keyboardist Alex Rose adds a new dimension to their signature sound, whether filling the space with subtle rhodes layering or soaring 70s sawtooth synth pads.

Where the spirit of experimentation was contained to brief playful moments on Menos El Oso, here it is decidedly more overt. In the dreamy dance track "Knights," what might otherwise be dismissed as a singular sour note on the guitar, is instead featured prominently, repeated several times and doubled at the octave, as if to tell the listener, "No, seriously, it's not a mistake." On the brooding epic "Dr. L'Ling," it's actually the tight vocal harmonies that ground the song and solidify the tonality, while dual guitar noodling and unison bends serve as accents, rather than the backbone of the song.

Side by side with the more experimental tracks are the catchy pop hooks we've come to expect from Minus The Bear.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Leonidas Abril Baron on September 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Minus the Bear has progressed since This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic and the era of Highly Refined Pirates (in my opinion, the best MTB album out there.) This CD combines a bit of similar tunes since the previous albums, yet they never fail to combine new amazing tunes and guitar string notes. Also, another great factor to Minus the Bear has always been drums and percussion is in constant progression, lyrical sense has always bothered me with MTB, although some lyrics can be dearly inspiring and sincere and swell, in most of the songs the lyrics simply fade into extremely stupid sentences that make no sense. MTB also can throw a good show, so if you're ever in desire for a good indie show, I recommend MTB. I'm stoked to find out what they boys have in store for the world next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason Custer on April 24, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I first became an avid fan of Minus the Bear following their brilliant 2005 album Menos el Eso's release. I read a five star review for it in AP magazine wherein they sounded like the departure from the music I typically listen to (mostly post-hardcore) that I'd long been looking for. I bought the CD, cranked the volume up in my car, put the windows down, and prepared myself for what I assumed would be 40 minutes of blasting my new favorite album down the streets from Best Buy to my house with pride. Within a few blocks I turned the volume down and found the dial in my mind for disappointment to be at an all-time high. Slowly, each listen after that fateful day revealed something new to me, and one good song linked into others, and in time, the album revealed itself to me as the masterwork it is. The same was true of Pirates... if not for Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse (on Pirates), The Fix (on Oso) and the stellar drumming on everything between (something I couldn't help but notice, even as I turned my speakers down for my first MTB experience), it is entirely possible I would have dismissed these otherwise sublime albums instantly and disregarded Minus the Bear completely.

Flash forward to a time a few months prior to the release of Planet of Ice. I started scouting the band's MySpace dying to hear anything new from the band in extreme anticipation. The first tracks I recall them releasing were Dr. L'Ling and Throwin' Shapes. My first listens of both (despite previously learning my lesson) made me cringe a little. After a view more plays, the subtleties became more apparent, and they grew on me. Minus the Bear is not a band that can be fully appreciated in one listen, nor can any of their full-lengths.
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