Menomena - Friend & Foe

2007 is well underway and I’ve been fortunate enough to have plenty of excellent albums to review. However all these albums seem to be from bands I already knew, or else left-overs from 2006. Midway through February I still found myself waiting for the first band that would go down in my mind as truly unique to 2007. While Menomena may have been kicking around since 2003, they are new to me. And of all the bands I’ve discovered this year, they are the first to get me excited. Originating out of Portland, Oregon (who doesn’t these days), Menomena (not Mah na mah na) create a sound that ranges from rich compositions to stripped-back ballads. Their music is rather experimental, in the sense that they incorporate a number of weird sounds (whistling, horns, etc) and try their hand at a variety of different styles. The album starts off with the poppy yet heartfelt ‘Muscle'n Flo’, which is then followed by ‘The Pelican’, a darker number driven by deep piano chords, crashing percussion and powerful vocals; all reminiscent of TV on the Radio. But then this is quickly followed by the almost childish ‘Wet and Rusting’, complete with glockenspiels and high-pitched vocals. This sort of evolution continues throughout the entire album and means there’s never a dull moment. In fact even the descriptions above are inadequate as each of those songs progress within themselves towards completely different sounds. Friend and Foe is an album full of fresh ideas and perfect for anyone who, like me, was waiting for their year to be kick-started.

Rotten Hell – Like many that have come before, this song is here on the the assumption that if I find myself singing it all the time, it must be worthy of inclusion.

Evil Bee – It would appear that the less intense songs have one out when it came to choosing favourites. Then again, this song does pick up by the end. There's just something special about it that seems to strike me every time I hear it. Have a listen for yourself!


Wayne said...

This record has me really excited, the tracks I have downloaded are sensational, i love The Pelican most at the moment. I have ordered the CD from Barsuk, because the artwork looks sensational.

Rock Daze said...

Well if anything this post has reinstalled in our hearts the fact of how great the puppets are, wonderful, truly wonderful

Peter said...

was there ever any doubt? Oh and in an interesting piece of trivia, that song was originally composed for an Italian porn film. Looking at those muppets, I'm hardly suprised.