Menomena
Mines


4.5
superb

Review

by Keelan H. EMERITUS
July 24th, 2010 | 43 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Menomena have trimmed some of their quirkiness, but it isn’t a resignation so much as a process of refinement.

When first delving into Mines, the third LP (fourth if you count the modern dance score) from indie-rockers Menomena, I was unsure of how I felt. Compared to I am the Fun Blame Monster and even Friend and Foe, Mines appeared to have lost the quirkiness that had accompanied Menomena from the get go. It was an endearing quirkiness, not a forced one. It created an aesthetic that was all their own, and Mines seemed to have smoothed some of those edges. That should be a bad thing. Should. So while I was gearing myself up for another slight disappointment * la The Dodo’s Time to Die from last year, Mines continued to etch its way into me at that subconscious level where all great music resides. The place where you could keep a song tucked away, never listened to for years, until bringing it back one day just to remind you, “hi, I’m fucking great.”

Maybe that little preamble is just a tad misleading. Yes the quirks have been smoothed out a bit, but this is still a Menomena album. It is more accessible on the whole, with fewer honking horns and strange detours. The band has continuously plugged away at crafting their own sound, refining the sporadicness, loud-soft dynamics, home made production software and angular hooks into something that is beyond gimmickry. Mines finds the band finally settling in on their exact sound and the result is their best flowing work to date. From the slow burn opener “Queen Black Acid”, the band take the loud-soft patterns that use to be the signature of their songs, and apply it over the course of the whole album. In this sense there are two main climax points to the work; the sublime “Dirty Cartoons” and the epic “Sleeping Beauty” (for my money, one of the best songs of the year). Mines is a cohesive effort that rewards multiple listens from front to back.

But that doesn’t mean there are no individual stand outs. In fact the album is packed with them, as each and every song has at least one moment that grabs your attention just when you think it might be waning. The guitar jabs and hi-hat rush of “Tithe”, or the rush of drums and piano when Brent Knopf sings “siren’s sing in monotone / harmonized in deathly drone” on “Lunchmeat”. Menomena are a band that know their way around a melody and have great skill in layering an intricate and dynamic backdrop to these songs. The arrangements, at times, are chaotic with the amount of sounds going off from different instruments but a patient listener should enjoy picking it all apart; just look at the numerous melodies and counter-melodies hidden inside the instrumental breakdown of “Oh Pretty Boy, You’re Such a Big Boy”. It should come as no surprise to fans of the band that the album is a treasure chest full of little bits that flesh out skeletal frames that would already equal a pretty quality album in the first place

So yes, Menomena have trimmed some of their quirkiness, but it isn’t a resignation so much as a process of refinement. The result is surely the band’s strongest effort to date, and that’s coming off a high quality back catalogue. Mines is an album that stands apart for actually being different, and that’s an important trait. In a world where anyone coming up with an ironic genre combination seem to labeled as original, Menomena transcend. They sound fresh and unique because their music itself is. They’re perfectionists who hone over their work until it fits just right, not settling on something just because it’s catchy. It may not have the same hype machine toting “album of the year” accolades like The National, Titus Andronicus or Janelle Monae might have, but Mines certainly deserves to be there on merit alone.



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user ratings (186)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Sam Feldman's Rating (4.5)
...

Tyler Munro EMERITUS (4)
This album is almost as fun to listen to as it is to say the band's name ten times fast. Menomenamen...


Comments:Add a Comment 
plane
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2010


6094 Comments


Yeah buddy. I have to keep toning down my praise when talking about this album. Aces.

Blindsided
July 24th 2010


1871 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Umm ya nice.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
July 24th 2010


3775 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wicked, wicked album.

Y'know people are gonna kill me for this, but I was trying to think of other bands these guys sounds like and the first answer that popped into my head was Kings Of Leon. Maybe it's the vocals and the wide open melodies. But like, infinitely better.

But to continue the ridiculous comparisons, this band are like what Mew were for me in '09: Band I've never heard of with an amazing back catalog filled with cool instrumentation and original songwriting. Either way, this is one of my favorites this year.

Digging: The Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends

EVedder27
July 24th 2010


6088 Comments


Nice review, gonna check this out asap

Yotimi
July 24th 2010


6523 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^Streetlight's last paragraph sums it up for me.

I think they kinda sound like the Unicorns too. (their older stuff does at least)

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
July 24th 2010


7026 Comments


I don't see how anyone can care about most of this album. It's not that it's bad, it's just that it leaves me completely indifferent.

AggravatedYeti
July 24th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

sooo good.

Bitchfork
July 24th 2010


7584 Comments


This is pretty boring, tbh. Go Bahrainian.

DoubtGin
July 24th 2010


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nah, its so exciting



one of the better albums from this year imo

Bitchfork
July 24th 2010


7584 Comments


it's certainly better than that unfathoms fag.
:]

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2010


10510 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

album bores me

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

acorncheese
July 24th 2010


7119 Comments


Need to listen to it sometime. Friend & Foe was pretty awesome.

Bitchfork
July 24th 2010


7584 Comments


This is just really unassuming.

thebhoy
Emeritus
July 24th 2010


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh hi everyone I still write reviews sometimes. I don't know, I like good music so I can care about it.

Also, Rudy sometimes I think you're cool then this.

dcha
July 24th 2010


990 Comments


Summary is a bit wordy.

thebhoy
Emeritus
July 24th 2010


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

how so?

Bitchfork
July 24th 2010


7584 Comments


maybe remove process of.

and i hat6e to be this guy, but those "this is how i felt about the band, and this is how this album made me feel" sort of intros are really mediocre and has-been.

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2010


10510 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

lol maybe it's bc I've only listened to it at work which is boring to begin with

thebhoy
Emeritus
July 24th 2010


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hmm, I could remove process of.

I also haven't written a review in like 2 months so cut me some slack.

Bitchfork
July 24th 2010


7584 Comments


I'm just reminding one of my fav contribs not to fuck up.



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