Minus the Bear: Taking its music to the higher ground.
Planet of Ice, the latest full-length from mathy Seattle tech-rockers Minus the Bear, still ties the neurological pathways in knots, thanks to its mind-bending rhythmic transitions and unique textures. But these are skills that the band has smoothly mastered since its first release, 2001's This is What I Know About Being Gigantic. Ice, however, finds the band using its studio knowledge and technical know-how to supplement more soulful, groove-oriented song arrangements; "Dr. L'Ling," for instance, drops a heavy funk groove with guitar stabs and bends very reminiscent of John Frusciante's best axe-work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And while Minus the Bear's mad bursts of unique synth patchwork and effects-pedals manipulation do still serve a purpose, Ice's guitar lines tend more toward the melodic, calling to mind the prog-rock leanings of recent work by the Mars Volta or even at times harking back to the '70s-era studio explorations of Pink Floyd.