Some will say this is a good progression deeper into the genre that Minus the Bear has always played. Not since 2008’s They Make Beer Commercials Like This had your reviewer listened to them. And the same step-step dance shuffle, rocking waist, and pocket thrust hands that fit the music then (dance poppy r&b nuanced prog rock) still works now. Leaving behind a bit of the darker rhythms in their earlier music, it aspires to strobe lit arena rock with echoing hooks but we’ve been here before.
I can imagine the (aspired?) production value in the stage show: a young stage designer given a chance at a decent sized contract so be sure there is the wow factor of 40 white spotlights shining the audience in the face at every soaring guitar solo. But outside of the wall of noise, the lights, the (feigned?) frantic performance and stripped down into the tin of my workplace speakers or ear buds on a run, boring pop rock remains. It’s uninspired. This is a case where the band needs some new blood or a complete tear down as this is the first album in a while and it needed a few more months of cycling in some new songs.
There is enjoyment in the album lead-off “Last Kiss” and the long, sweetly-melodied “What About the Boat?”
Minus the Bear and their contemporaries like Bloc Party and the Bravery put a sheen on garage rock that made it danceable and club acceptable. For what they did then, we all thank them. But, Voids is… wait for it… absent of enjoyment– damn, almost got it.