Seattle quintet Minus the Bear has spent its career searching for an identity. At first, they were kinda like a comedy group, with songs like “Lemurs, Man, Lemurs” and “Thanks for the Killer Game of Crisco Twister” splitting the difference between twisty time signatures and downright silliness. On 2007’s Planet of Ice, they dropped the funny stuff; on OMNI, they’ve gotten rid of the math-rock pretenses altogether and made a serious dance record. At least it sounds serious, since apparently quite a bit of effort went into crafting “The Thief,” which features a rickety 808, wah-wah guitars, and falsetto voices. But just because it’s not supposed to be funny doesn’t mean you’ll take it seriously. “Summer Angel” and “My Time” are catchy enough, but by the time OMNI slumps to the unnecessarily weighty “Animal Backwards,” the dance grooves have worn thin. Parts of Planet of Ice hinted at this direction, and the songs worked then as additional color and flavor. But the dance sounds on OMNI prove that Minus the Bear still hasn’t found an identity.
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