“Infinity Overheard,” the fifth full-length record from Minus the Bear, benefits greatly from the tricks of the trade the band has learned over the years. The ten-track album reads as a highlight reel of the band’s greatest strengths.
Minus the Bear prevents their brand of indie rock from becoming generic indie rock through their use of instrumental breaks and unexpected time signatures. “Lies and Eyes” transitions surprisingly seamlessly from a guitar-driven intro to alternative rock vocals back to an instrumental portion that, coupled its abruptness, sounds like a recipe for disaster that turns out to be a quite catchy success. Minus the Bear takes no shortcuts with their production and execution, leading to full, diverse tracks that highlight the capable musicians that they are.
While many bands with a distinct lead vocalist fall into the trap of having their entire sound defined by a single voice, Minus the Bear manages to avoid this by maintaining complex and varied instrumentation that reinvent lead singer Jake Snider’s vocals track after track. Their collective musical talents allow them to create completely different sounds, from the slower heaviness of “Heaven is a Ghost Town” to the more electronic “Lonely Gun,” that are grounded in the vocals instead of hindered by them.
But music isn’t only about the instruments; it’s also about the words. There’s no law that states all lyrics need to be wildly introspective and meaningful, but just one cheesy, vapid line has the ability to ruin an entire song. “Empty Party Rooms” loses much of its gravity and solemnity when the listener hears “Saw your eyes straight on, did I hold them for too long? Maybe no one saw.” The other edge of the sword is trying to be too ambitious with metaphors, like the calling up of “liquid concrete under our feet” in “Diamond Lightning.”
“Infinity Overhead” is undeniably a Minus the Bear record, and that couldn’t be a higher compliment. The execution is impeccable and the style is rooted in their indie rock background with largely triumphant forays into various other genres. With such a strong display of their musical prowess, Minus the Bear set themselves up for a career whose limit could, in fact, be infinity.