After holing themselves up for the past seven months, Minus the Bear have finished recording their as-yet untitled fourth studio album (five, if you count Interpretaciones del Oso), this time without famed producer Matt Bayles.
After holing themselves up for the past seven months, Minus the Bear have finished recording their as-yet untitled fourth studio album (five, if you count Interpretaciones del Oso), this time without famed producer Matt Bayles. The band will be heading out Oct. 30 on a 30-day tour to showcase some new material and perform old favorites. The group will hit Portland on its four-day warm-up excursion, almost a year after their last visit.
After having Bayles produce their last three records, Minus the Bear enlisted the help of Grammy Award- winning producer, Joe Chiccarelli (My Morning Jacket, The White Stripes), to helm their newest offering. The group headed to Seattle’s Avast! Recording Co. and Electrokitty Recording studio to work on the new album and only spent a week in pre-production before allowing Chiccarelli to step in.
“Working with Joe has been a different experience,” said frontman Jake Snider. “The process has been more immediate, slightly more alive and performed. Our sound became more textural, while not sounding over-produced or busy.”
Indeed, it must be hard and different to go from using a close personal friend and highly skilled producer (Bayles) to a Grammy Award winner. The band was undaunted, however—they opened up to their new producer and gave him more control than they were used to.
“With Joe we were much more open to changing parts, trying new things, making them better,” said Snider.
The as-yet untitled offering won’t hit the stores until early 2010, but the group will be bringing a 7-inch with them on tour that will contain two tracks off the new album, “Into the Mirror” and “Broken China.” They hope to have them by the start of the tour, but unfortunately the warm-up dates will have to wait until the Oct. 27 digital release.
The band boasts that the new disc will have a well-thought-out mix of typical Minus the Bear complexity, combined with a nice blend of pop sensibility. They also plan to try out at least three of the new tracks on the upcoming tour to let fans decide for themselves.
Minus the Bear’s last offering was their acoustic EP, Acoustics. It offered up acoustic versions of material from Planet of Ice, Menos el Oso and Highly Refined Pirates, as well as a new track, “Guns and Ammo.” On this album, the group showed their diversity and uncanny ability to take delay-laden songs and transform them to acoustic-driven pop songs that can stand on their own merit.
As with all of their albums in the band’s eight-year career, Minus the Bear continue to show that they can tackle a myriad of genres successfully without alienating their steadfast fan base. One could attribute this to the widespread influences the band cites, as well as the variation of bands that this group pulls from—guitarist Dave Knudson came from the hardcore band Botch (and guest performances with These Arms are Snakes), Erin Tate once played with the post-hardcore outfit Kill Sadie and legendary producer Bayles even joined the group for a brief stint.
The band has an uncanny ability to venture into numerous realms of music while never confusing “influence” with “imitation.”
With not-so-newcomer Alex Rose taking the keyboard/synth/programming duties, the band is as good as ever and ready to bring on the classic songs, along with some new material. After what will have been three years between albums, Minus the Bear promise not to disappoint with their unique blend of pop, space-rock, progressive and indie-fied music that is uniquely theirs.