Minus the Bear's latest record, Menos el Oso, is the sound of hardcore kids growing up. Known previously for comical song titles like "Hey, Wanna Throw Up?" and impressive rock resumés, the highly technical, versatile quintet has finally produced the record we've always known it could. Jake Snider's lyrics have evolved to take on workplace angst, greed and actual love; meanwhile, guitarist Dave Knudson's trademark style draws less attention to itself this time, and Erin Tate shows all the finesse of a jazz drummer, playing off Cory Murchy's deft, driving bass. The secret ingredient, however, is experienced slider jockey Matt Bayles, whose production work and keyboards add a glitchy, electronic edge. The result lies somewhere between Pinback's bedroom post-rock and late-model Yes. Growing up is hard to do, but Minus the Bear makes it sound pretty good.
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