Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Not Enough Words On The Page

Sorry took a bit of a break for a while there, and in the tradition of shameless plugs - i'm involved in another show - yay!
check out the details here, make sure you check it out, cause i'm working with some very talented peeps.

Right, on to le music.
Well a couple more of my reviews are up on The Scene
Here's the latest batch:
Something For Kate, from last Friday's show at the Forum and a review of the new Motion City Soundtrack album.

Cool, so this week i'm tackling Menomena, a crazy American three piece who have been lighting up online music blogs and critics alike.

Often phrases in the musical critic’s lexicon, such as ‘hard to pigeon-hole’ and ‘difficult to categorise,’ are divvied out to acts that only marginally stray outside the boundaries of given genres. However Menomena, and their second album, are wholly deserving of these attentions. Friend And Foe is very much hard to pigeon-hole and difficult to categorise. An quick and easy solution would be to label their sound Indie, but that would be cheating wouldn’t it?

Using a mix of broad instrumentation, self-sampling and fragmented lyrics (though not necessarily in that order), all the songs on the album take a few spins before you can even get your head around them, let alone appreciate their subtlety. This chaotic mode is reflected in the stunning artwork – a mess of cartoonish surrealism (by comic Craig Thompson) and devoid of liner notes – the CD itself acts as a spinogram behind this mad artwork, whose song titles appear through slits in the Jewel Case (do yourself a favour and google it). If all this sounds confusing, it reflects just how tricky the three-piece can be when attempting to capture their musical difference in words.

Already receiving critical praise from a number of quarters, it is most definitely Menomena’s originality that makes them so striking, so fresh. In a time when most Top 40 charts acts are indistinguishable, Menomena seem to appear without origin, its difficult to ascertain any overriding influence in their music and that makes them doubly mysterious and exciting. The album swerves through a number of moods, and after those few important listens through the CD, it seems that a proliferation of heavy mixed drums, spacey piano and layered guitar make up the bulk of the music. The initial challenge of the album will give way to a rewarding feeling, given a little patience and time.

Highlights include “The Pelican,” a chaotic rant filled with fishing metaphors, the calculated progression of “Wet And Rusting”, the huffing horns and cute whistling of “Boyscout’n” or even the vocal round of “Ghostship.” Consistently inventive if a little distancing, the combined talents of Brent Knopf, Justin Harris and Danny Seim have crafted one of 2007’s most interesting releases. If they can bear the critical hyperbole and still manage to breakthrough to the casual listener, Menomena could well be a long-lasting prospect. Pushing at the edges of Indie music’s boundaries, Menomena may force more music critics to push the boundaries of their vocabulary to accommodate such acts that can’t be ‘pigeon-holed’ so easily.

right and to finish, here's some tracks that have been kicking ass and taking names.
Jimmy Eat World - Big Casino: just do yourself a favour and head here for a listen
Norah Jones - Ocean Of Noise: another Arcade Fire cover of another of the better tracks from Neon Bible (see last week)
Roy Orbison - In Dreams: Ive been doing an essay on David Lynch's film Blue Velvet, so thus...
Pink Floyd - The Wall: as in the album, great as a soundtrack to solving Sudoku.

Until we meet again.

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