Album Review? Menomena's Mines

Dirty Cartoons

I remember hearing Menomena for the first time at a show here in Boston.   They were opening for Barsuk labelmates the Long Winters.  There were tons of issues with the sound and they were supremely frustrated.  But what I did get to hear spurred me to purchase both their albums, I am the Fun Blame Monster and Friend and Foe.  Friend and Foe had totally blown me away, it was funky, it was experimental and totally fun for me.

Fast forward three years later, Menomena releases two singles for their upcoming album.  The first being FIVE LITTLE ROOMS, and the second being TAOS.  After hearing those two tracks, I was totally floored for this album.  TAOS brought to me the idea that they were becoming a bit more accessible without actually giving up on any of their experimental mystique.  The tearing guitar riffs, and howling lyrics make for such a great sound, especially at loud volume levels.

FIVE LITTLE ROOMS had a nostalgic sound for me.  This is what reminded me of what I really enjoyed about Menomena’s sound.  The pounding horns, and the subtle piano parts intermixed with a slow rolling drum track; all give this song so many layers, so much sound to take in.

Menomena’s Mines has carved out a spot in my ears, one particular song that I’ve found myself really enjoying, is the Dirty Cartoons.  It begins as an unassuming acoustic track, with nothing more than guitar and vocals.  What results further on is a slow building, huge sounding, gorgeous song that is simple and yet musically layered and made beautiful.  The composition of the album would seem to put this as a closing track, but it’s stuck right there in the middle.  It seems to stand out amongst some really interesting sounds.

Mines feels like an album as schizophrenic as some of Menomena’s music appears to sound.  But this is what makes this sound so special, so different from what you’re used to hearing.  They can go from a raucous guitar tearing song like TAOS to balladry in Dirty Cartoons, and a darker melancholy of Five Little Rooms

Buy Mines