Minus the Bear

Omni

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Marching down the increasingly electronic path set before them on 2007’s Planet of Ice, Minus the Bear continue to evolve their knotty, math-tinged indie pop away from traditional arrangements and into more synthesized spaces. On Omni, drum machines accompany live drums, and the intricately tapped guitar lines are accented, and sometimes out and out replaced, by winding synths. The effect is an even more relaxed and breezy Minus the Bear than listeners might be used to. Regardless of the instrumentation used, the band displays the same casual confidence that made Menos el Oso so easy to like. The only difference is that rather than guitar acrobatics, the band is dealing in a smoother, more atmospheric and ethereal sound. Synthesizers take center stage on the album opener, “My Time,” where guitars are used to fill out the sonic palette as multiple keyboard lines intertwine with one another to create a luxurious, almost bon vivant, groove. Like flipping a switch, the roles of the instruments change as the album rolls seamlessly into “Summer Angel,” letting the keys create a sense of space while the guitars gracefully dance around one another in classic Minus the Bear fashion. Deeper in, tracks like “Excuses” and “Into the Mirror” find the band growing more and more easygoing, shifting its focus toward drifting, dreamy pop. At first, the stylistic shift on Omni seems jarring, but looking back at their other releases, it becomes clear that the sound here was almost inevitable. All the pieces that make Minus the Bear an entertaining listen are still here, but rather than experimenting with more progressive arrangements, the goal is to carefully control the mood of the album, creating a soundscape that's more restrained than anything they’ve ever done, but just as affecting.

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