Every once in a great while, a band comes along that makes as
large an impact with their visual presentation as they do with
their music. David Bowie is the quintessential example
of this phenomenon. Menomena is the latest addition to
the elite group.
The visual presentation of their debut record is just as stunning
as their music. The CD version comes in a uniquely styled book-pack.
Book-pack? That's correct. An approximately ninety page flipbook
leads you to the cd at the end. The book is divided into 4 quarters,
one displaying the bass players hands moving around the neck
of his guitar - another displaying drummer bashing away on a
snare drum - another displaying the inner workings of a piano
as it coincides with being played - and finally, a band member
spinning around in a swivel chair, although he disappears in
the middle. All of this, while at the bottom of the page the
words "I Am The Fun Blame Monster" rearrange themselves
to form the phrase "The First Menomena Album". Simply
stunning. I mean, I didn't even listen to the record the first
four or five times that I picked it up, I simply spent a few
minutes flipping through the book. Rumor has it that the vinyl
artwork is even more stunning, a maze to try to find how to
extract the record from the package. Stunning artwork - one
point for Menomena.
And just speaking the name of the band is quite fun. I like
to purposely re-pronounce it many times in a row, some of my
favorites being phonetically: Mee-No-Mee-No-Mee-Nah, and the
clever Mah-Noh-Mee-Nae. - Another point for this clever band.
It does not end there, however. The music is where this band
really shines, and each listen impresses me even more. The songs
are cascades of sound, brilliantly recorded and expertly mixed
to weave just a bit of insanity into the album. Drums stop and
start at odd times, vocals appear out of the musical conundrum
- shocking in their fragile presentation and haltingly beautiful
tone - and delicate piano lines weave in and out of the songs,
completing the beauty. Then the guitars come in for a few moments,
e-bows and fuzztones making for a diverse musical palette. Even
more intriguing is the fact that the majority of the music was
made and recorded in a computer program called "Deeler",
which was created by Brent Knopf of the band.
The music is somewhat experimental in arrangement, similar to
some of the more left-field of Brian Eno's works
But the magic is in the fact that the record never lags or drops
interest. There is always something new chiming in to bring your
attention back, some new sound or line to awaken a lost emotion
inside of you. The music is not experimental in the way that much
of modern experimental music seems to be. There are real songs
here with real song structures that make the sounds cohesive and
The only real tragedy is that it ends at nine songs. I'd like
1. Cough Coughing
2. The Late Great Libido
3. E. Is Stable
4. Twenty Cell Revolt
5. Strongest Man In The World
7. Trigga Hiccups
9. The Monkey's Back
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