Menomena
Moms


4.5
superb

Review

by robin EMERITUS
September 25th, 2012 | 144 replies | 9,788 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: guess i'll have to face

To Moms, the oh so wonderful Moms, there should be a story: Brent Knopf left the band, leaving some sort of unspeakable trail behind him, surely? This half-band, a bassist, a drummer (now everything), just two of three distinguishable songwriters (who sound, it’s worth nothing, fairly similar, somewhere between Kings of Leon brassiness and, er, something else- Pitchfork suggested Blur, and on “One Horse,” you can’t deny their perception) and half a democracy. We should say, as we do, that this album is something different, or that Knopf has fractured his band; we should say this Menomena is new, rather than old, or that Menomena is dead. Menomena is certainly different.

But what Menomena now is, what Moms really is, perfectly and devastatingly, is generic alt rock. Trumpets blaring on “Plumage,” or on the chorus to “Giftshoppe.” As “Heavy Is As Heavy Does” dropped, ahead of the album’s schedule, it was the straightest song of their career; a solemn piano ballad lamenting fatherhood, the patriarchy and the male form in general; a song maximising its pain as it realised it, getting heavier and more solo-mad as its own hopelessness was realised. And I, too, realised, as Seim or Harris (whichever one) sang it (“as prideful as a man he was / proud my father never was of me”), that this was the Menomena album that was going to hurt. They’ve hurt before, of course- certain lines from Mines have cut like a knife, not least the very first (“I get so caught up in my ways”)- but Moms is less about passing around the Deeler software and creating a randomised song, however sad, and more about lamenting family trees and the things that created us worse for wear. Together, Harris and Seim have created a rock album punching the stomach the way their lyrics do.

It’s almost strange to think this is the band behind Mines, an album praised, in its entirety, for its innovation, and for its mysticism: Mines bared its soul at times, but never in such an explicit way. Harris and Seim have never written songs like this, ones as direct and self-explanatory, and at times, ones as cinematic: “One Horse,” the album’s groaning sign-off, feels like a score, with its fine-tuned sad howls and sudden cuts; with its ability to stare right in the eye as it does; with just those words, “you were a one horse town,” and then the spiralling downward fall. Moms is cinematic and serious, concerned with its own drama rather than the place it had to fill.

And so Moms plays out like a classic alt-rock record, similar in my mind to The Bends or Change as collection of samey, reflective songs, each with their own fireworks. It’s not about innovation but introspection, and blown up. Moms, instead of a long monologue exchanging thoughts on Knopf’s departure to us all, is an album of one-sided dialogue and unrequited longing; the title itself is dedicated to motherhood, but it seems untouched throughout the songs these two men write about. Instead, the themes are focused on the other women and elder men in these songwriters’ lives; the lovers within arm’s length in “Plumage,” the bastard dads in “Pique,” and the fools, guess who, letting them in on “Skinertercourse.” The music is endlessly climactic, and everywhere: “Plumage” weaves and weaves around its sharply-spun piano notes, and reaches its conclusion around the same time Menomena do: they rattle around the song like their very own epiphany, and “guess I’ll have to face” is sung, resigned, one more time before the song fizzles out pathetically. On “Pique,” the song halts on a similar, damaging revelation that has circled in and out of the songs existence until then: of being used, and accepting it, Menomena close the book, slapping one last guitar chord and crescendo in their wake. These are two songs to self, crossed with endless motifs about how nobody cares.

Moms is a collection of depressive love letters and we, rather accidentally, are their recipient.



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3.8
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Lakes. (4.5)
Menomena tighten up their sound and release their ballsiest album yet....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
robin
Emeritus
September 24th 2012



4248 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

certainly i did not write this sober

robin
Emeritus
September 24th 2012



4248 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

cuz i don't want to be just anybody to you i want to be your one and only

Lakes.
September 24th 2012



27039 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"And so Moms plays out like a classic alt-rock record, similar in my mind to The Bends or Change as collection of samey, reflective songs, each with their own fireworks."

seems like a good comparison. i think this is an important record in their evolution. or maybe not. it's definitely their most straightforward release yet, not a bad thing though

Digging: Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring

klap
Staff Reviewer
September 24th 2012



10334 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

bout time

Digging: Literature - Chorus

Lakes.
September 24th 2012



27039 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

best new music, eff yes

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
September 24th 2012



23807 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

what the hell you had this as a 4 two weeks ago

ps i love menomena

pps i love robin smith

Lakes.
September 24th 2012



27039 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

best band ever

robittybob
September 25th 2012



2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album grew on me. Nice one.

Ponton
Emeritus
September 25th 2012



5791 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

guess i need to try again

chambered49
September 25th 2012



1727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this better than mines?/how does it compare sound/songwriting wise?

bakkermaarten007
September 25th 2012



3422 Comments


The closing line made me want to check this out, not a fan of their earlier work though.

scotish
September 25th 2012



835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ROBIN

robin
Emeritus
September 25th 2012



4248 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

scooter!

scotish
September 25th 2012



835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

in the middle of listening to their back catalogue. under an hour might be my favourite so far but then i'm really into instrumental stuff at the moment. cant believe i haven't heard of these guys before, so so good!

SeaAnemone
September 25th 2012



20049 Comments


I have mixed feelings about this
it's full of some of Menomena's best moments but what does that mean, really? it definitely has some duds, though

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country

Lakes.
September 25th 2012



27039 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

duds? lol what

SeaAnemone
September 25th 2012



20049 Comments


I don't think it's as good as Friend or Food or Mines
and "Giftshoppe" sucks

Lakes.
September 25th 2012



27039 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

friend or food? lol

giftshoppe is fine. probably the weakest on here but i don't think they have a "bad" song

SeaAnemone
September 25th 2012



20049 Comments


(no offense but) you tend to have low expectations and standards in general
and don't get me wrong this is still very good... not sure where it'll end up among '12 shit but I've been listening to it a lot lately

Lakes.
September 25th 2012



27039 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

offense taken



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