Bulletproof. Some bands are destined to reach that status--Radiohead,
Wilco, etc. Destined to come out with material that people
will be listening to 50 years from now. They've been able to
attain such acclaim because they possess something that others
can only dream about: Geniuses (i.e. Thom Yorke, Johnny
Greenwood, Jeff Tweedy, Jay Bennett).
The phrase often comes to mind whenever Minus the Bear
comes up, if only because they seem to almost get there, but
fall just short. It seems as if they lack that genius to drive
their band, to get them into the pantheon.
Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking: "That's no different
from any other band on the planet who've written a decent piece
of music." True, but not many bands come this damn close.
You can hear the potential in there, but they just can't seem
to get to that legendary Bulletproof status.
That said, They Make Beer Commercials Like This is still
a worthy EP. If I had to pigeon-hole them, this effort is definitely
along the blurry post-punk lines that have resurfaced lately,
sounding at times like they could possibly have come out of
the early '80's. But I wouldn't bank on that, and like I said,
it's only at certain points.
The first track "Fine +2pts" is probably the best
effort of the six songs, combining guitarist Dave Knudson's
tapping style that he's become known for, with bassist Cory
Murchy's rhythm's, to produce a sound that really doesn't
bring any other band to mind. The other noteworthy song is the
third track, "Dog Park". With probably the best chorus,
musically, on the short player, Murchy and Knudson again play
well off each other to once again produce their uncanny tapping/thumping
As in the past, they've come up with some outlandish song titles:
"I'm Totally Not Down With Rob's Alien," and "Hey!
Is That a Ninja Up There?" Clever names, but nothing close
to their previous efforts "Thanks For the Killer Game of
Crisco Twister," and "MONKEY!!!KNIFE!!!FIGHT!!!,"
which is probably what Homer Simpson would've called his song
had he written a top 40 hit. Some people call these monikers
gratuitous, unnecessary. I call it original.
One of the reasons the band seems to walk along the edge of
greatness, is because of that originality, but it's also because
they always seem to have a moment or moments that makes an impression...
something that I'll end up mulling over weeks or even months
later. This time was no different.
The chorus on "Let's Play Clowns" was that moment.
Singer Jake Snider bellows: "It's rare to feel this
expensive/next to a girl like her." It's significant because
it's typical of all of Snider's poetic efforts. He always seems
to get his point across with simple, haunting lyrics that are
almost a backdrop to the music. This is important because no
one part of the band overrides the other, the meld well together
as a unit.
While this latest EP doesn't live up to 2002's Highly Refined
Pirates (which is one of my favorite releases of the past
few years,) it will certainly hold fans over until their next
full length release, and give newcomers a chance to taste MTB's
1. Fine +2pts
2. Let's Play Clowns
3. Dog Park
4. I'm Totally Not Down With Rob's Alien
5. Hey! Is That a Ninja Up There?
6. Pony Up!
e-mail the chief
Like this article?
it to a friend!