Minus the Bear was one of those indie-rock bands that experienced “synth creep” as 1980s-style music came back into fashion over the past decade; its last two albums, Planet of Ice and Omni, increasingly utilized synthesizers at the expense of the mathy guitar rock for which the band was known. Its newest, Infinity Overload, is a step back towards its roots, with moments of quirkiness and energy that were largely missing from Ice and Omni.
The singles “Steel and Blood” and “Lonely Gun” don’t give a good indication of what is to be found on the album; the former is relatively straightforward college rock with a harder riff tossed in for good measure, and the latter has a dancey, robotic quality (plus a smooth sax outro) that’s unusual for the band.
The two songs, though, aren’t bad, and the rest of the album is a breath of fresh air for fans who thought the band was getting too adult contemporary for their tastes. “Diamond Lightning” is dynamic with interplay between noodling guitars, synths, and pizzicato strings; “Toska” glistens with acoustic guitars and violins; and “Heaven is a Ghost Town” features a juxtaposition of sparse and gently wailing guitar lines with light electronics, effects, and another swarm of strings.
It might not be quite as mathy or intricate as the band’s earliest albums, but Infinity Overhead does well to split the difference between two Bear eras.