Menomena aren’t afraid to experiment. Their soundscapes encompass innumerable instruments and they mess with tempos and melodies in a way that should produce noise and not much else. Yet, they have proven with their latest record Mines, that they are odd pop maestros.
TAOS is the closest Menomena come to a single, as Knopf’s voice rings out ‘I’m not the most cocksure guy/I take what I can, and get what I can’ in a lyrical ode to sexual addiction delivered with electric charisma. Dirty Cartoons starts off acoustically soft, before the bass kicks in with a sinister edge to join the languid lyricism of ‘I’d like to go home’ repeatedly sung in suitably monotone vocal. With percussion tapping away in the distance background, Knopf delivers unexpectedly poignant couplets like ‘I’d like to stumble to bed and lay beside you/until we’re even or romantically bored’ and in the midst of the sonic overload one realises how easy it is to forget the lyrical depth of Menomena’s songs.
Whether regretting decisions of the past or telling lovers he’s no good, Knopf infuses his lyrics with an underlying wry wit. Tithe takes a post-rock turn, creating ambience before rushing headfirst into jagged guitar riffs and climatic spurts of noise. In contrast, Oh Pretty Boy, You’re Such A Big Boy is infused with a gentle piano riff and Massive Attack-esque beats that gradually descend into bopping and bleeps.
The beauty of Mines lies in its oddities; a record that requires a keen ear and a desire to find hidden gems is a must but the reward is a rare kind of innovative and intelligent experimental pop.