Minus the Bear: Planet of Ice 

I want to get something out of the way: This is a great record. I became a fan of Minus the Bear shortly after they released their previous album, Menus El Oso, in 2005. I was especially attracted to the incredibly creative guitar work of Dave Knudson, who doesn't just play chords but instead weaves complex, angular lines throughout beautiful and always interesting chord changes. I'll even go as far as to say that Knudson is one of the most creative and revolutionary guitarists I've heard. Minus the Bear's newest release, Planet of Ice, continues in this tradition. And while Menus El Oso was amazing, Planet of Ice has so much more heart and soul. It's not the lyrical content, which seems almost secondary to the music; it's that the music draws you in. It requires an investment. But don't think you'll have to work to "get" this record. Every minute of it is as enjoyable as the last. The Minus the Bear sound is incomparably original. I can think of no artists to liken them to. But since every rock band has to be associated with a sub-genre, let's just call it Minus the Bear rock. Their vibe, with its sound experimentation (particularly on the third track, "Knights") and their frenetic, techy-sounding guitar work, seems so fitting in today's world of ever-evolving technology, the Internet, and the ability of every human to connect at the touch of a button.

Minus the Bear releases their third full-length, Planet of Ice, on Suicide Squeeze Records, August 21, 2007.

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