Some bands put out such great records early on that fans and critics never quite let them live up to that early output.
Minus the Bear are one of those bands. Regardless of what new music they put out, it always seems to get shadowed by their early releases.
I caught up with bass player, Cory Murchy over the phone prior to Minus the Bear’s show at Observatory North Park on Tuesday, Sept. 5. He was finishing up putting together easels for his art show -- his side hustle, if you will.
The Seattle-based band is touring in support of their latest and sixth LP “VOIDS,” which is attracting a lot of comparisons to their early material.
“The thing is, and every artist says this about their newest album, I honestly believe this is the best one we’ve ever done for a lot of reasons. People can say what they want. We’re really proud and excited about it. It marks a changing of the guard and a new era of the band,” Murchy said.
I listened to the band’s first two LPs (“Highly Refined Pirates” and “Menos El Oso”) all throughout high school, and while I find myself stuck in the early '00s era of MTB, there's no reason not to take the plunge into their subsequent records. Still though, those early records are hard to top, and Murchy understands that.
“There are always those folks that whatever album they got into at the time is their wand, their keystone. I totally get that -- there’s bands like that for me as well -- but what I think is cool, and this speaks for the longevity of the band, is that most fans are able to go along with us and kind of grow and explore different things -- that’s what makes it all work. There’s always going to be people, ‘Ah, they haven’t done anything good since the first EP’, ya know? There’s always going to be those people, but you just carry on and get on with it,” he said.
“VOIDS” explores the usual progressive math-rock sound that band is known for, but it's a little more poppy than their previous work. It also marks their first album since the departure of original drummer Erin Tate.
“We met up with this guy Josh Sparks -- he’s actually our drummer for touring and everything. He’s been great! I’ve never felt better about playing with a drummer than I have been with Josh in this band. As a bass player, that’s super exciting and it’s playing with a drummer you can lock into and get along with on stage and off stage. It’s exciting for people who haven't seen Josh play with us, because frankly, man, we’ve been tighter than we have ever been. It feels awesome to get off stage and say, ‘Yeah! We did that fucking thing,’” Murchy explained.
So with some exciting new blood and momentum, what’s next for Minus the Bear?
“There’s been talk of trying to do a live album, which is something we’ve always talked about. Personally, I think this would be the perfect time to figure that out because, like I said earlier, the line-up is super strong. But who knows, we’re going to continue writing, and we still have a bunch of songs leftover, for whatever reason, didn’t finish or didn’t have room for this last record, so there is a lot of material to work and a ton more shows to play.”
Musician, people-pleaser, lover, fighter and writer Matthew Craig Burke has been spewing musical words of wisdom since never. He lives off of peanut butter sandwiches, beer and Beck Hansen. Follow his updates on Facebook or contact him directly.