Acoustics is a compilation of acoustic versions of Minus the Bear’s more popular songs from some of their albums. Most of the songs are from their newest release Planet of Ice, including the song “Ice Monster” which, in this acoustic version, doesn’t sound like your computer is crashing at the end of the track– in my opinion, a good expunction. Acoustics also includes a new track by the band called “Guns & Ammo,” which is catchy enough for my roommate to have caught me singing it in the shower (embarassingly enough). Dave Knudson (in my opinion one of the most uniquely creative and technically skilled unknown guitarists in the indie/electronica music scene today) keeps up his usual stellar performance on this track, weaving two beautiful riffs through each other throughout the song. My favorite Minus the Bear song is by far “Pachuca Sunrise,” a song which I myself have been trying and failing to play acoustically for as long as I’ve known it. The acoustic version of “Pachuca” seems slower than the original, and is a little simpler. The acoustic track sounds a lot less like its original, in that where the Menos el Oso version and the Interpretaciones del Oso version (Alias Remix) are electronically stylized, the Acoustics version of the song could be played in a smoky mid nineties bar a la Counting Crows. It’s a stark contrast from Minus the Bear’s usual sound, but makes for a nice change.
For a cover/re-vamp album, Acoustics certainly doesn’t sound like a rehash. It’s a completely new sound, yet maintains the very best parts of Minus the Bear’s music– the intricate guitar riffs, the weird yet beautiful melodies, and the interesting song titles (“We Are Not The Football Team” originally from “Highly Refined Pirates”) are all there. It’s a must-have for any Minus the Bear fan, and a good introduction to their music for those whose musical preferences don’t quite make it to Minus the Bear’s normal electronic mixes. Or just for anyone who likes a good acoustic album.