Menomena -- Friend and Foe (BARSUK)

This Portland, Ore., trio recently signed to Barsuk Records and this is their debut release for the label. Online 'zine Pitchfork likes them, which seems to be hugely indicative of a band's succ

Feb 14, 2007 at 2:06 pm
 
Menomena — Friend and Foe



This Portland, Ore., trio recently signed to Barsuk Records and this is their debut release for the label. Online 'zine Pitchfork likes them, which seems to be hugely indicative of a band's success nowadays. The songs are a result of Deeler, a computer program that Brent Knopf (keyboardist/guitarist) wrote. The files are arranged and vocals are added later. Supposedly the band is sick of talking about the program and questions pertaining to the process. Opening the album is "Muscle 'n Flo." It's not good. It's a horrible opener considering what follows in the track listing. The rest of the album is fairly strong, though it tends to sound repetitive once the end nears. It seems to be lacking focus. Some songs are primarily sounds and instruments. Others seem to be shoved onto the album for sound's sake. For example, "Running" is just a two-minute track that repeats the same piano riff over and over with odd chanting in the background, reminiscent of a DJ Shadow track, but not nearly as good. The next track, "My My," focuses on lyrical content. The sound landscapes (whatever that means, but it seems to fit here) are beautiful throughout, but repetitious looping has definitely resulted in the album's tendency to have many songs that sound similar. And lyrical depth is definitely not present with this band — that might be their intention, but the songs with lyrical presence are their strongest. (Daniele Pfarr) Grade: B