Let’s make this clear: “indie rock” is a sterile phrase. And whether you want to use it to refer to lo-fi Sonic Youth-offshoot noise bands, ’80s revival — “Hey, look we use synths!” — bands, or Brooklyn bedroom rock, at least we can agree it’s also a sterile genre. Nonetheless, the phrase and genre remain, and bands like Minus the Bear remain with it.
...off of Minus the Bears' Voids album
It’s been five years since the Seattle group has released a full-length studio album and possibly a decade since they’ve released anything particularly exciting, but if there’s anything 2017′s Voids can teach, it’s that it’s never too late to attempt re-creating the sound that charted HypeMachine ten years ago. You know the one: the upbeat and reverb-heavy guitar intro that either plucks or strums its way into a kitschy verse revolving around banal platitudes such as, “I took a shot of whisky, I hit that bottle like a brick” (“What About the Boat”), “It was so simple in the end/ Oh, I had to just start again” (“Call the Cops”), and “Little lies, it’s part of being human, it’s part of believing the illusion” (“Invisible”). Those songs, the ones that eventually build up to a much-needed climax only to stumble on a chorus that performs like sex in a dead marriage. Yes, you can try to draw out those notes, even with heavy cymbals riding behind your frenzied synths and guitars like waves, but nothing will ever make the same song stimulating after years of H&M boot-stomping it to the ground.
Nevertheless, maybe you can find comfort in knowing a band you once enjoyed still relishes in the same sound that made you fall in love with them. Hell, some have even made whole careers off treating album and song formulas like blueprints for project housing. For those who value artistic exploration, though, you might want to set your sights elsewhere.
Artist: Minus the Bear
Label: Suicide Squeeze Records
Songs: (1) Last Kiss (2) Give & Take (3) Call the Cops (4) Invisible (5) What About the Boat? (6) Silver (7) Tame Beasts (8) Erase (9) Robotic Heart (10) Lighthouse