The one thing you can definitely say about these guys is that they have a sense of humor. The picture on the right is one of their official press photos for their latest album “Friend and Foe”. Oddly enough, their music usually doesn’t reflect this oddball humor of theirs. It is more serious sounding indie rock with wide ranging vocals and periodic saxophones.
Menomena makes music using a Digital Loop Recorder (DLR or “Deeler”). They start with a chosen tempo click and record drums over it. Then they pass the mic to the next member who improvises over the drums and passes to the the next member until they have sufficiently filled out their song. The next trick is to learn to play their new composition live without looping. This democratic technique gives their music a great, disjointed feel that is very unique.
Their first album was called “I Am the Fun Blame Monster”, which is an anagram for “The First Menomena Album”. The packaging for the album included a flip book explaining the album’s title. Their second LP was called “Under An Hour” and is an instrumental album they composed as the score for a modern dance production. The packaging for this disc was minimalistic, including only a jewel case with a slipcover. Their newest album “Friend and Foe” featured an insert designed by Craig Thompson (the author of the graphic novel “Blankets”) that has to be seen for it’s genius to be understood. I like the fact that the musicians also take their creativity beyond the studio to create a full piece of art that should be examined as a whole.
Another point that deserves mentioning is that the members of Menomena grew up in Christian households. While I don’t really know their current beliefs, I know that they regularly mention their background in interviews. One delightful article on Pitchfork mentions what music one of the members listened to growing up. It includes everything from Amy Grant to Stryper to DC Talk. How often does Pitchfork mention DC Talk?? Link Here.
So without further ado, I give you a sample of the music of Menomena. This track is from their newest disc. Please check out their link on the right and consider supporting this great band!