I purchase most of my music from emusic.com and have, over the years, become a big fan of the site. I usually first get info on a band from blogs or podcasts and then go to emusic to download.
Every now and then I come up short on new bands and none of my favourite bands on the emusic list have released any new albums. In that case I usually browse the emusic recommended listings. And that’s how I found Menomena.
I won’t go into the history of the band because I have no clue about them, and no clue what they are about so please google them.
I will talk about the album Mines that was released in July 2010.
The first song is fairly representative of the rest of the album. A slow brooding song about being let down by someone the singer loves. The music really sets the mood. It starts of with what sounds like a guitar and drums but then slowly more and more instruments come into play singular musical pieces or blend in with the song.
And it just continues from there on. Spastic but sounding melodic. Sparse sounding yet paints a landscape of hurt and longing. Brash yet full of maturity. And the number of instruments on this album belies the fact that there are only three people in the band and apparently, they recreate this sound without back up on stage! That would make them by far a great act to see live!!
Also, I read up a little about the band and from all accounts the band members are an acrimonious lot and it is my firm belief that friction within a band always translates to outstanding music (please don’t quote me on it as it’s just a theory).
Their sound did sound quite familiar to start with. The first song immediately reminded me of The Black Heart Procession Band. Sparse soundscape and powerful, haunting lyrics are what made me think of this other band. But by song 3, Killemall, it was fairly obvious that Menomena is a cut above (I have not listened to any album by the Black Hearts since Amore Del Tropico. So it’s possible I am just speaking out of my ass!).
Yet, I am convinced that this album will not be a major blockbuster. Alas, that is the fate of sterling, high quality and passionate bands of today’s music world. If it’s too complex and relies heavily on repeated careful listening, that cuts their audience by at least 50%. Oh well, I hope you will at least give it a try.