Minus the Bear

Minus the Bear is one of those rare bands that sound as if they could be equally at home as a mainstream mainstay or as an indie cult favorite. An eclectic mix of clean and emotive pop vocals, proggy flourishes and a striking knack for writing melodies that are at once instantly engaging, structurally complex, and broadly appealing allows Minus the Bear to be several things at once. For those who like to geek out about technique, these guys clearly know what they’re doing. The rhythms frequent the far-flung reaches of the time-signature spectrum, stopping and starting through an array of cadences. The guitars are precise and circuitous, tracing filigree patterns around and through the melodies, which are carried by the readily accessible vocals of singer Jake Snider, whose easy manner and smooth delivery help to reign in some of the more adventurous moments. Oddly, the very elements that make the band so broadly appealing also help to keep it on the fringes of both sides of the dial. Never quite edgy or contrarian enough to be accepted as full-fledged indie rock stars, Minus the Bear can’t or won’t grind down its experimental edges to go Top 40. Sometimes the fringes are a nice place to be. With the Lonely Forest and Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground. NICHOLAS HALL

Thu., Dec. 31, 8 p.m., 2009

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