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Menomena – Moms

Beki Kidwell


Plumage opens Oregon based Menomena’s newest album Moms with a modern, radio friendly pop melody. Incredibly up-tempo with a ‘clap your hands to the beat’ feel about it, I’d say it’s a good way to introduce listeners. Yet, even the scattered, heavy guitar riffs floating through the background or Justin Harris and Danny Seim’s effortless harmonies can’t make the opening tune one of much substance. It’s the instant strain of the guitar in track two that grabs me as more of a show-starter. Capsule seems to encapsulate the sound of old school Jane’s Addiction or Super Furry Animals. As the song goes on, the bands preferred indie-rock tendencies come into play. There’s even a subtle hum of a jazz flute right at the end.

With the departure of member Brent Knopf in early 2011, Moms is the first album of the new (and improved) Menomena. Passionately personal lyrics about family, friends and loss play melodically alongside the many tones of the 10 tracks. Pique plays as more of a musical monologue than another nice song to skip – it’s difficult not to listen to the lyrics, ‘you’re in my bones and you’re in my teeth/imperfect form from imperfect seeds/and in the end I know that I can never let go/cause pound for pound I know you’d let me-’

Baton finds listeners equally as transfixed as the simple lyrics and pleasant bass led rhythm mutates into a cacophony of clashing instruments and eerie harmonies – possibly pointing out the harsh reality of the song itself – the oxymoron of pretty melodies and dark messages. Again, Heavy Is As Heavy Does denotes itself as another well-written, brilliantly formed song, with deeply personal undertones. The lyrics almost eat away at the music. It becomes difficult to focus on anything else beside a man with quite a beautiful voice resembling that of Damon Albarn’s singing about his ‘fucked up family tree’.

Tantalus gives off an ambient vibe, while final track One Horse ends the album on a low, yet beautiful note. What better way is there to play out a great album than with a stunningly orchestrated string section? Skintercourse and Giftshoppe are by far the album’s most catchy songs. It’s wonderfully tough to distinguish genre from genre as the songs develop through repetitive dance rhythms, rock guitar and bluesy piano solos. They really have thrown a mixture of sounds into each song – making, what I think, would be a great album to experience live.