Minus the Bear
Highly Refined Pirates
These days with math rock being co-opted as the music of choice for the most emo singer/songwriters, it’s refreshing to find a band that keeps the schmaltz to a minimum. With pop culture-fed song titles like “Thanks For the Killer Game of Crisco Twister” and “Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!” it might seem like these guys haven’t got a grounded, much less serious, lyric couplet in their heads. These titles are misnomers, though, and the band is thankfully able to inject a non-nausea inducing amount of emotion to front the near perfectly constructed math rock of these two opening tracks.
Some of the initial dance-ability is lost on the second half of the album. “I Lost All My Money at the Cock Fights” is a fairly plodding and uninspired song, that doesn’t really come alive until the lyrics drop out of the mix. Also, the four throwaway instrumentals that surface throughout the album do little more than strain the listener’s attention span; they’re slightly redundant and extraneous. But for the most part, the enjoyable aspects of Highly Refined Pirates overshadow these weaker moments. I don’t normally seek out math rock releases, but this album has piqued my interest enough to keep my eyes open for future Minus the Bear releases.