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Minus the Bear Omni
Released 20 August 2010

Joe Chiccarelli,
Minus the Bear
Label V2 / Coop
Length 49:41
Genre Indie rock
Website minusthebear.com

One of the most enduring genres of music is the love song. If it inspires the general public it becomes an anthem for couples that gets trotted out for Valentine’s Day and weddings. Did Bryan Adams realise what he was unleashing onto the world when he released '(Everything I Do) I Do it for You'? Did he realise that so many couples would feel that this song perfectly summed up their feelings for one another? While it may have become a hideous monster, the point still stands that a simple song was able to inspire millions of people (selling fifteen million copies worldwide). Put simply, love sells. With Omni, Minus the Bear have released an album of ten songs inspired by romance that proves that noble intentions don’t necessarily result in noble output.

Omni gets it wrong on so many levels; firstly the music doesn’t match up to the sentiment. This is an album about love set to a soundtrack of complicated and intricate rhythms (admittedly played by very capable musicians). Maybe I’m being old fashioned but love songs should be low tempo numbers where the vocals take the front seat. Not so here, it’s as if the band wanted to play certain styles regardless of the lyrical content. How else can you explain opening track 'My Time'; a song about a late night rendezvous of lovers set to music that sounds like it came straight from a video game.

The lyrics are a big letdown, ranging from the embarrassing to the downright corny. Cringe worthy moments pop up fairly regularly on Omni but 'The Thief' really raises the bar for bad song writing, containing such humdingers as “You’ve got a rich dad / who hates every boy like me / I’ve got no money / and daddy don’t like my ease”, or the stunningly bad chorus “I wanna steal you like a pearl / I wanna display you like a diamond”. I doubt Burt Bacharach is losing any sleep.

Omni feels like an album with an identity crisis, undecided whether it wants to rock out or celebrate love, making it tough to take it seriously in either genre. The musicians are competent and the vocals are well delivered, despite the dodgy lyrics, but it seems that writing heartfelt love songs is beyond them.

- Brian Kinsella