Minus the Bear

Planet of Ice

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As evidenced on Planet of Ice, Minus the Bear's corner of the indie rock universe is much like that of Death Cab for Cutie's: smoothly melodic and tinged with all kinds of forward-thinking ephemera. "Knights" is dotted with electronic traces but driven primarily by spiky prog guitar leads and a driving pop hook. Nevertheless, there's also a grandiose side to Minus the Bear that strives for the arena and some kind of Incubus-like world of proggy, expansive guitar enchantment; it's indicated by the wheeling psychedelic accents on "Throwin' Shapes" and the slicing riffs of "Buryin' Luck." "Ice Monster" and "When We Escape" find the band hunkered down into spacy love grooves, while the icy plinks of "Lotus" locate even dreamier musical spaces. This is an album full of interesting harmonics, polished melodies, and singular arrangements, and overall a strong, hypnotic effort from the Seattle band.

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