Mar 3, 2007

Friend and Foe-Menomena

Dazzling, exciting, original, uplifting, unique, curious, powerful. These are some of the adjectives I could use to describe "Friend and Foe", the new record by Portland (can that city do no wrong) trio Menomena. I quite enjoyed their 2004 release "I Am the Fun Blame Monster" (an anagram of "The first Menomena Album"). It was a charming debut, full of quirky syncopated rhythms and experimental pop. However "Friend and Foe" shows enormous growth. In fact the first 3 tracks are as strong as any openings you will hear this year. Danny Seim, Justin Harris and Brent Knopf write, perform, arrange and produce the whole creation and they have done a marvelous job. The opener "Muscle'n Flo" is a stunner, drums crash in and then the vocals come with the piano. This song is almost an anthem, full of beauty and heart, then at 2.20 the organ rises up and I swear if your heart doesn't skip a beat then it mightn't be working. "The Pelican" and "Wet and Rusting'' follow and these songs are nearly just as good. "The Pelican" is a shout to the rooftops song with barnstorming guitar and full throated choruses. "Wet and Rusting" is a return to the delicate, charming pop the band are known for. The piano is super effective and this song is so warm and beautiful. That's the thing that stood out for me with "Friend and Foe", for even though it is hugely experimental, this is not a cold record. Its heart is enormous, you will be touched by its beauty. There are many other highlights, "Rotten Hell" is a delight with its melodic choruses and stirring piano and "Boyscout'n" with its dramatic whistling. What can I say, buy this, dive in and enjoy a unique album.

Also the artwork by Craig Thompson is truly unique and worth owning, as Ro can testify to.
Please buy at Barsuk, they are a wonderful label who give you absolute first class service.
MP3: Wet and Rusting
MP3: The Pelican


  • At March 05, 2007 , Anonymous Ro said...

    You'd get the impression that it is a cold listen but, as you said, it really isn't - totally accessible.


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