Menomena
Friend And Foe


4.0
excellent

Review

by La Revolucion USER (8 Reviews)
May 27th, 2007 | 30 replies | 9,566 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Menomena make the most out of nothing.

It’s been a long time since a semi-popular indie rock band has actually done something new and original. It seems that the genre has just been repeating itself too often recently, with little variety between bands. Sure, The Arcade Fire added more instruments to their sound with their newest effort, and The Shins made their sound even more derivative of 60s pop, but neither of those things is terribly original. So in this state of indie depression, what band could possibly save us?

Menomena?

Well…no. But at least they’re conscious of the fact that they aren’t doing too much on the originality end of the scale. Luckily, they made their main focus on fleshing out the standard songwriting formulas and using every single aspect of their music to the absolute maximum extent of sonic deliciousness. Baritone saxophones honk and squeal throughout the majority of Friend & Foe, accompanied by dashes of creepy synthesizer and overwhelming distorted guitar. Never quite settling into the quiet-loud-quiet formula that seems like the route most of their songs could take, Menomena always make a run for the unexpected. The most surprising thing is that it works every time. No note feels out of place in the warmly-produced world of Friend & Foe, and every song is the perfect length and style.

“Wet And Rusting” has haunting piano chords that float through the song, either right up front or hiding behind keyboards and acoustic guitar that don’t exactly fit with the piano, but somehow end up making sense anyway. Menomena are good at that type of thing. Whistling that could be taken from hiking scenes in old Disney movies begins “Boyskouts Sweetboyskouts,” which then becomes a pretty piano-based ballad for a minute or so, and then heads into a Yo La Tengo-esque guitar freakout section that lasts for another sweet minute, just providing more unexpected directions for Menomena’s music. “Evil Bee” has an underproduced Radiohead vibe to it, thanks in part to its bouncing bassline and electronic sounding drums. Horns that could be straight from Radiohead’s “National Anthem” even pop in towards the end. However, Menomena make sure that every instrument is specifically theirs, and the majestic sound of all of the songs is distinctly Menomena – no other band quite sounds like it.

So maybe Menomena aren’t the most original band of all time, but they do have their own sound that separates them from the majority of the bands in the indie rock scene right now. Dramatic crescendos and a hundred instruments are one way to evoke emotion, but Menomena do so with an alarmingly minimalist approach, squeezing out a feeling of desperateness in all of their music with only a few, well-placed instruments and melodies. And in such an overcrowded music scene, maybe the bare minimum is all a band really needs to be truly great.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2007


17920 Comments


nice

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
May 27th 2007


2806 Comments


yeah

La Revolucion
May 27th 2007


1060 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks for being so verbose.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2007


17920 Comments


INCREDIBLE
BFMV have written just few song ( 1 album and 1 EP) but they have become very popular and have released a DVD!!!
They play very well in live performance and Matt Tuck has a great voice.
This Live is better than the other in Rock Am Ring.
BUY IT!!!

is that better

Slaapkamers
May 27th 2007


596 Comments


This review plays very well in live performance.

The Jungler
May 27th 2007


4827 Comments


Your intro kind of got me hopeful, but I don't know if I'll check this out. Maybe some isolated tracks.
Nice review, it's been a while.

La Revolucion
May 27th 2007


1060 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It inspired me enough to begin reviewing again, so you should probably check it out. It's a grower - I didn't like it at first.

AlienEater
May 28th 2007


716 Comments


Comparisons to Yo La Tengo are good

I'll probably listen to it

samthebassman
June 23rd 2007


2164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I am keen to hear these guys.This Message Edited On 06.23.07

samthebassman
June 27th 2007


2164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good album, reminds me of TV On The Radio.

La Revolucion
July 1st 2007


1060 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Wow no. They sound nothing like TVOTR.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
August 2nd 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

these guys are pretty awesome.This Message Edited On 08.02.07

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
November 3rd 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The artwork for this album is incredible. Honestly, probably the best artwork for any CD released this year. This album kicks major nards.

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2007


6094 Comments


Is solid.

Yyy
November 6th 2007


289 Comments


milk

FrddyBrnRgrJhn
November 11th 2007


81 Comments


Good review, but I disagree with your second paragraph. I don't think Menomena are trying to be either original or unoriginal. They're simply writing music, and doing a damn good job at it.

Nice comparison to Radiohead, I definately noticed that as well the first time I heard "Evil Bee," (especially that piano build-up of "Oh to be a machine, oh to be wanted, to be useful"). Total Yorke.

This is so far the best release of 2007. The artwork is pretty amazing too.

La Revolucion
November 17th 2007


1060 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

That's sort of what I said about them in the second paragraph, but whatever. Still a good album.

ohpm500
January 28th 2008


12 Comments


found it too inaccessable at first, i should probally give this another go... your review may in fact inspire to do that...

Cheers!

Two_Star_Town
March 16th 2008


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this deserves higher than a 4.0, some of the songs are just so amazingly energetic and burst open at just the right times, its really almost a science.

moltenlava
July 10th 2008


312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I could never be accused of being a fan of Indie/Alternative music. Very few artists that I can appreciate, even with forcing myself to listen to the stuff. But, I took to Menomena instantly. And, this recording is damn near perfect. This is literally an entire album worthy of radio airplay. And, usually that would be a slam against a band to say they're worthy of being put on the radio. Since all radio music is terrible. But, these songs would instantly raise the bar for what's acceptable Pop music. Maybe I would listen to the radio every now and then if the quality of material was anything like that of Menomena. But, until that day, I'll keep all radios in the off position.

This Message Edited On 07.10.08



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