Former noodlers climb a wall of sound
Dave Knudson’s mathcore-metal roots have long been evident in Minus the Bear’s guitar work, his complex riffs squiggling and writhing through the band’s woozy sex jams. But where previous albums were largely headphone affairs, fourth LP OMNI is a record to rupture speakers. Knudson’s noodling has evolved into heavier, tighter riffing, allowing his Bear bandmates to flex; the result is the group’s most explosive record since its 2002 debut Highly Refined Pirates. Jake Snider’s lyrics are as bedroom-obsessed as always, but OMNI’s neon-metallic groove fits his libido well. Lead track “My Time” is a musical strobe light of skittering synths and guitar effects, opening with Snider’s oh-so-subtle come-on “Turn off the lights, and touch me in the dark.” Snider verges on sophomoric when he sings “Running out of excuses, when we know what the truth is / I’m into you” on “Excuses,” but layered atop Knudson’s gorgeous windchime guitar, it’s easy to share the attraction.