Minus the Bear: Omni (Dangerbird)

If you've never heard Minus the Bear before, the track "Knights," on 2007's Planet of Ice, is a great place to start. On it, lead singer Jake Snider's coo is sexy enough—he channels a pretty good decadent bad boy—and the discursive rhythmic scheme affords some fine drama.

Omni, the band's new album (and their first for Dangerbird), is not as charming of an entrée. The band now comes across as something the characters in the Twilight books would listen to; at best, they're spiritual cousins to Bryan Metro, the phony goth superstar in Bret Easton Ellis' The Informers. Have they always been like that?

It's odd, because most of the musical ideas on Omni are inoffensive, and sometimes fun. There's INXS-style reverbed guitar echoes, perky disco beats, synth flourishes and assorted electronica burblings. I blame Snider entirely for the album's failure: His lyrics are middle-school-diary bad.

If it weren't for the daft lyrics, the record would be a fine bit of moody disco/new wave shenanigans. But on "Summer Angel," Snider sings, "My summer angel keeps me on the run" a million times. Then, on "The Thief," he opens with "You've got a rich dad who hates every boy like me / I've got no money and Daddy don't like my ease." "Animal Backwards" relies almost entirely upon the line, "She's a wolf looking through my window."

Ai yai yai. It's almost so bad, it's good. Almost.

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