BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Despite a rampant following in their native Northwest, Seattle’s Minus the Bear has yet to achieve the national audience their innovative instrumental stance decidedly deserves. For that reason alone, Lost Loves might serve as a means of introducing the band to the wider reaches of indie enthusiasts everywhere. With ten tracks spanning the past twelve years or so — all unreleased material that deemed incompatible with whatever efforts they working on at the time — the album reflects a decided prog pop bent, a soulful sensibility underscored by articulate arrangements, shuffled rhythms and a level of ambition that clearly sets them apart from the competition.
While there’s little here could be considered instantly accessible, the band court favor courtesy of their energy and enthusiasm alone, with songs that run the gamut from cosmic rumination (“Patiently Waiting”) to a sound that’s irrefutably intense (“Cat Calls & Ill Means”) and one that more or less meanders through a shifting musical stew (“Your Private Sky”). In some ways, Minus the Bear may be too sophisticated for their own good, given that these are the kind of melodies that are best served up in performance where pyrotechnics can come to the fore. Nevertheless, for those that appreciate an especially sophisticated style, Lost Loves may signal the start of a new romance.
DOWNLOAD: “Cat Calls & Ill Means,” “Patiently Waiting,” “Your Private Sky”