Minus the Bear

They Make Beer Commercials Like This

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Although Minus the Bear's uniformly goofy song titles and album names make the Seattle quartet seem at first like the spiritual descendents of local scene godfathers the Young Fresh Fellows -- besides the sarcastic album title, the best titles this time out have to be "Hey, Is That a Ninja Up There?" and "I'm Totally Not Down With Rob's Alien" -- the funniest thing about them is how straightforward and (relatively) serious their music is. Boasting a slightly rougher sound than the Steve Fisk-produced Highly Refined Pirates, They Make Beer Commercials Like This is nevertheless at least as complex as their previous releases, but with more of an emphasis this time on constantly shifting, tricky rhythms and a more prominent and melodic presence for bassist Cory Murchy to counterpoint David Knudson's typically fluid guitar showcases. This is especially notable on the opening "Fine + 2 Points," which has even more of the chilly but danceable sound of early-'80s post-punk outfits like A Certain Ratio and Crispy Ambulance than the far more celebrated Franz Ferdinand do.

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