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Menomena “Friend and Foe” Review

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

Whispering sweet nothings into the heart of indie darlings’ ears everywhere is Menomena, who have returned recently with a new album which follows the band’s string of unique success with 2005’s Under an Hour and 2003’s I Am the Fun Blame Monster! As a whole the album is a cluster, fueled by the band’s in-house computer program, Deeler, which has allowed the group the ability to fully penetrate the souls of their songs, shifting each towards over-layered musical outrageousness. All of which would be mildly obscene in the minds of indie’s off again, on again happy-go-lo-fi fanbase if only it weren’t so damned enjoyable to listen to.

The opening track, “Muscle ‘n Flow,” eases into itself as while developing a course drum track surrounded by a thicker guitar slicing exterior; all of which eventually give way to a fully integrated mixture of sax and piano hum. Again, if only it weren’t fantastic to listen to one would have to assume the sound to be a clouded mess if simply examining the song by its description. As you start to think about what it is you’ve just heard you begin to melt into the hypnotizing sounds that encase the air around you. Before long “Air Aid” fades out allowing one of the album’s strongest tracks “Weird” to seize the spotlight.

With Moog charming aesthetics and its tight lyrics the song drifts eerily without causing much distinction, which subsequently leads to key to Friend and Foe’s success. The song’s theme is based in finding common ground through brokenness, far from universal to the entire recording, and it delivers a backbone allowing the listener the ability to relate to the band, if even for only a moment.

This is what makes the album a success, Friend and Foe is a series of moments. Rather than an ongoing string of ideas or sounds, themselves elaborately melded to a point where they can only be enjoyed on a whole, each song offers a number of moments on its own which creates an environment difficult not to immediately return to the song that has just played. Each relies on such a unique breadth of character that they become hard to digest in a listen in the context of the entire album. Any number of bands would be seen as arrogant or imbalanced for undertaking such a session, but for Menomena it is seemingly just another moment in a young timeline that looks to have a wonderfully