This Town Needs Guns
As Tall as Lions
Tracklist01. Steel and Blood
02. Lies and Eyes
03. Diamond Lightning
06. Heaven Is A Ghost Town
07. Empty Party Rooms
09. Lonely Gun
10. Cold Company
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Luckily, I don’t have much of a Facebook following, otherwise I’m not sure I would live down a comment I wrote a few days back: “After a few spins of the new Minus the Bear, I've decided it sounds like what Planet of Ice would've sounded like in an alternate universe where Planet of Ice was a bad album.” But I’m not backpedaling on that, save maybe “a bad,” and I’m replacing it with, “just a good.”
On Infinity Overhead, it’s actually kind of mind-boggling how many moves Minus the Bear yank directly from Planet of Ice while still managing to come out kind of bland. Tell me the guitar solo at 2:25 of “Lies and Eyes” isn’t cloned from Planet of Ice blood pulled from a mosquito encased in amber (I watched Jurassic Park the other day okay?), and tell me that “Diamond Lightning” isn’t basically an unreleased track from 2007. It’s sweet of Minus the Bear to finally give into rabid fans’ demands to return to their old sound, but sometimes it feels eerily accurate, like there was some degree of time travel involved.
With its groovy, more OMNI-flavored sensibilities and a creative pair of solos, “Toska” steps out of Planet’s shadow for a moment, but I have serious deju vu during the choruses. Largely acoustic and boasting a massive, string-laden chorus, “Listing” is the first track on Infinity Overhead that feels like it’s a fresh Minus the Bear song that breaks some new ground (if we ignore their Acoustics EP). “Heaven is a Ghost Town” does its best at straddling sounding like “Part 2” while introducing a few new tricks, but never develops into anything particularly interesting. “Empty Party Rooms” suffers similarly, but like most Minus the Bear songs, their knack for writing kick-ass solos saves an otherwise unremarkable first half.
More than anything, Infinity Overhead feels like it’s out of shape, like after 5 pretty solid tracks it had to stop and catch its breath. And then it returns with “Lonely Gun,” and the lyrics make you want to smother it. Though, “Cold Company” capping the album with an upbeat track (and arguably heavy for a Minus the Bear track) that doesn’t listlessly linger for at least 7 minutes is a welcome change. “Cold Company” is a song that makes me wonder just what kind of music Minus the Bear still have up their collective sleeve—just in time for the album to end.
I will admit that even as a big fan of OMNI, Infinity Overhead is a step in the right direction for Minus the Bear. While OMNI was a cute departure, built around the band exploring an entirely new instrument, Infinity Overhead is in transition, a muddy mixture of remnants of OMNI’s dance rock and the completely unique stylings of Planet of Ice. It has its successes and its flops, but it has the air of a Minus the Bear album, and less of an experiment. For the record, though, if Minus the Bear are recycling old album sounds, can I put in a vote for Menos El Oso? Please and thanks.