The third full-length release from this psychedelic-cum-indie-pop Seattle quintet exhibits a mature progression from previous efforts, but hidden beneath the offbeat tempos, loose grooves and dark melodies is a self-indulgent excursion into prog rock. Minus The Bear’s technical prowess is delivered as a free form barrage that balances precariously between the wafting instrumentation of King Crimson’s Court of the Crimson King
, the expansive powers of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here
and the heavier side of Death Cab For Cutie. Planet of Ice
is raw and detached, and the quirkiness of previous works has given way to subtle complexities.
But not all pop affectation is lost. “Burying Luck” and “Knights” are schizoid-free Modest Mouse with post-emo malaise. “White Mystery” brims with the lava-lamp groove of thick bass, keys and acid-infused spontaneity. “Throwing Shapes” is the anomaly here—a light and airy pop bounce that’s effortlessly pleasurable.
With Planet of Ice
, the intricacies abound in an inventive blend of prog and pop that’s at times dreamy, and at best transfixing.
Minus The Bear plays the Badlander with Ela and Subtle Monday, Sept. 24, at 9 PM. $15.