Album Review: Minus The Bear - 'Acoustics II'

21 January 2014 | 12:00 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Stripped back and re-built.

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The first Minus The Bear 'Acoustics' release back in 2008 was fantastic. It helped fans of the band look at their songs in a slightly different way while offering up stripped back reinterpretations of the tracks, which in some cases bettered the originals.

The group has pushed that idea further on the sequel, recording more songs and even including a couple of new works. One of these new works opens the record, the bluesy, chilled 'Riddles', something quite out of character for the band when you consider the electronic direction their music has taken of late. That is kind of the point of these acoustic releases though, bringing things back to the instruments at the band's core and challenging their genre a little.

The aforementioned change however makes the rest of the record a very interesting listen. How do the synthesiser heavy songs from 'Omni' or 'Infinity Overhead' strip down and "acoustify"? The first to answer that question is 'The Game Needed Me', which surprisingly manages to keep its glitchy feel thanks to sprinkled percussion and a tight performance from the strings and drums.

In some cases "stripping back" is not an appropriate description of what is happening, most notably on record highlight 'Diamond Lightning', which includes enough guitar lines that the track becomes even more complex than the original. Of the two new songs, 'The Storm' is the stand out, featuring those great harmonies that MTB are capable of and the perfect combination of acoustic chords and a synth like lead line.

The record closes out with a couple of tracks from 'Omni', which are probably the least creative of the record. That being said, they clearly identify the simple pleasure that is the easy going chorus of 'Summer Angel', proving that good song writing is all you need to transcend and excel in any genre, something MTB are more than capable of achieving. 

‘Acoustics II’ is once again another brilliant exploration of the versatility in Minus the Bear’s music and abilities. If only this happened more often.

1. Riddles

2. The Game Needed Me

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3. Absinthe Party At The Fly Honey Warehouse

4. Diamond Lightning

5. Hooray

6. The Storm

7. When We Escape

8. Summer Angel

9. Empty Party Rooms

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