Over the course of their 15-year career, Minus the Bear have carved out their ownunique musical world. This isn’t to say they’re impervious to outside influence.They’ve borrowed components from a wide swath of genres—the brainy clangor ofNew York’s proto-punk scene, the cerebral buzz of IDM, the poptimist evaluation ofhip-hop and R&B, and the grandiose visions of prog rock—but always managed todefy classification. Throughout the first decade of their existence, every new albumoffered a new musical approach, as seen in the idiosyncratic fretboard gymnastics ofHighly Refined Pirates, the glitchy loops of Menos el Oso, or the modernized Fripp-inspired wizardry of Planet of Ice. By the time the band entered our current decade,their knack for reinvention yielded to an emphasis on refinement. Albums like OMNIand Infinity Overhead searched for a middle ground where their myriad of stylisticapproaches could all work within the context of a single record.On their sixth album VOIDS, Minus the Bear started with a blank slate, andinadvertently found themselves applying the same starting-from-scratch strategiesthat fueled their initial creative process. “There was a lot of change and uncertainty,”says guitarist David Knudson. “I think the general vibe of emptiness, replacement,lacking, and longing to fill in the gaps was very present in everyones’ minds.”Change was everywhere. Keyboardist/vocalist Alex Rose took on a more prominentrole in composition and handled lead vocal duties on songs like “Call the Cops,”“Tame Beasts,” and “Robotic Heart,” drummer Kiefer Matthias joined the fold,producer Sam Bell lent a fresh set of ears in the studio, and the band returned totheir original label home at Suicide Squeeze Records. Minus the Bear were no longerswept along by the momentum that had driven them for the last fifteen years.Instead, they reached a point where they could recalibrate and redefine who theywere as a musical entity. The resulting album VOIDS retains many of the band’ssignature qualities—the hedonistic tales of nighttime escapism and candid vignettesof adulthood, the savvy up-tempo beats, the layered and nuanced instrumentation—while simultaneously reminding us of the musical wanderlust that initially put themon the map.Album opener “Last Kiss” immediately establishes the band’s renewed fervor. Anappropriately dizzying guitar line plunges into a propulsive groove before thechorus unfolds into a multi-tiered pop chorus. From there the album flows into“Give & Take”, a tightly wound exercise in syncopation that recalls the celebratorypulse of early Bear classics like “Fine + 2 Pts” while exploring new textures andtimbres. “Invisible” is arguably the catchiest song of the band’s career, with JakeSnider’s vocal melodies and Knudson’s imaginative guitar work battling for thestrongest hooks. “What About the Boat?” reminds us of the “math-rock” tag thatfollowed the band in their early years, with understated instrumentation disguisingan odd-time beat. “Erase,” recalls the merging of forlorn indie pop and electronicathat the band dabbled with on their early EPs, but demonstrates the Bear’s ongoingmelodic sophistication and tonal exploration. By the time the band reaches albumcloser “Lighthouse,” they’ve traversed so much sonic territory that the onlyappropriate tactic left at their disposal is a climactic crescendo, driven at its peak by Cory Murchy’s thunderous bass. Not since Planet of Ice’s “Lotus” has the Bearachieved such an epic finale. All in all, it’s an album that reminds us of everythingthat made us fall in love with Minus the Bear in the first place, and a big part of thatappeal is the sense that the band is heading into uncharted territories.Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to release VOIDS to the world on March 3, 2017 onCD, LP, and cassette. Nick Steinhardt designed the artwork and layout for allformats. The first pressing of the album is available on 5,000 copies of splattercolored vinyl and 5,000 copies of 180 gram black vinyl. The LP jacket features PMSinks, a die-cut cover with a printed inner sleeve and contains a download code. Thecassette version is limited to 500 copies and includes a download code as well.