Minus the Bear bids farewell with final EP Fair Enough
After a successful career spanning nearly two decades, indie-progressive rockers Minus the Bear are calling it quits. In conjunction with a farewell tour that lasts through December, the band released an EP, Fair Enough, to serve as a brief parting gift.
This decision likely comes as a surprise to no one familiar with Seattle-based group, which had been largely inactive over the past several years. Minus the Bear’s heyday was the early-to-mid 2000s, highlighted by arguably their three most well-known albums– Highly Refined Pirates (2002), Menos El Oso (2005) and Planet of Ice (2007)– and a slew of EPs. The latter decade of their career was less eventful; it did produce three more studio albums in Omni (2010), Infinity Overhead (2012) and VOIDS (2017), albeit with much less fanfare. Aside from Lost Loves, a quick collection of “b-sides” and other previously unreleased tracks, in 2014, Minus the Bear were mostly unheard from during the “void” between 2012 and 2017. To add insult to injury, the band lost one of its founding members, drummer Erin Tate, in 2015.
Directly comparing Fair Enough to any of Minus the Bear’s full-length releases is probably not fair; the EP consists of just four tracks, and that is cut to three if the remix of “Invisible,” a single from VOIDS, is excluded. Nonetheless, the three new tunes provide a strong sendoff for electronic-tinged math rockers.
In the title track, slow jam “Fair Enough,” singer Jake Snider exchanges his usual snarky, sex-fueled lyrics for heartbreak: “I don’t feel love / I can’t feel you anymore / If you play with a heart enough / It turns to dust.” “Fair Enough” finds a balance between synthesizer use and Dave Knudson’s standout guitar work, which some would argue Minus the Bear struggled with throughout their second wave of albums.
The fast-paced, warm progressive vibes of “Viaduct” evoke a more traditional Minus the Bear sound. The guitar solos and harmonics employed by Knudson throughout “Viaduct” are reminiscent of the group’s earlier work, such as Planet of Ice classics “Burying Luck” and “Knights.”
The synthesizer-fueled “Dinosaur” adds an almost hip-hop dynamic to the EP. While unique, the track traces back to Minus the Bear’s math-rock roots, with touring drummer Joshua Sparks’ off-kilter beats harkening back to Highly Refined Pirates and Menos El Oso.
While VOIDS should probably be considered their official farewell following nearly two decades of success, Fair Enough offers closure and one last “thank you” for Minus the Bear’s diehard followers.