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Menomena
I Am The Fun Blame Monster
FILMguerrero
www.menomena.com


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 highly listenable.

The only real tragedy is that it ends at nine songs. I'd like more please.

-L. Keane

Track Listing:

1. Cough Coughing
2. The Late Great Libido
3. E. Is Stable
4. Twenty Cell Revolt
5. Strongest Man In The World
6. Oahu
7. Trigga Hiccups
8. Rose
9. The Monkey's Back


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Mike Doughty



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