Minus the Bear They Make Beer Commercials Like This

In 2002, Highly Refined Pirates garnered a lot of attention for Seattle’s Minus The Bear, exposing them for their tight, angular indie rock and whip-smart rhythms. Now two years later, the band has jumped ship from Suicide Squeeze to Arena Rock in order to release their successor, an EP entitled They Make Beer Commercials Like This. Along the way they have made some adjustments to their sound, beefing up the hi-hats and off-kilter disco beats and toning down the emo shouting in favour of Jake Snider’s calmer, monotonous vocals. Produced by Matt Bayles (Isis, the Blood Brothers), this EP has some great ideas flying around in every one of the six songs. "Fine + 2 Pts,” for example, makes a strong bid for a piece of the disco punk pie, using a killer electro beat and some perfect minor guitar chords. The only concern about Minus The Bear, circa 2004, is the strong hints they frankly drop revealing their plans to replace the hole left from the break-up of the Dismemberment Plan. There are too many moments here where a drum will skip or a guitar will twang that is too much like the ’Plan. Since this is just an EP, it’s too early to tell for sure, but such meddling is considered uncouth and punishable by many hardcore fans. (Arena Rock)