Menomena - Friend and Foe

it entertains almost as much as it scares the shit out of you

www.menomena.com

 

Biff. Baff. Bosh. Crash. Bang. Thump. Tish. Tish. Bash. Bump. Kerthump. Tish. Tash Tash Kerthumpadump. No, this isn't me staggering through the door after an Incendiary night out. This is, in fact, the only way I can describe the drum beat to Muscle'n Flo, the opening track on Friend and Foe. The song contains some clever and canny little guitar parts and some great vocals but the drums just drown everything out. It's a hell of an opener, practically beating you senseless with a pounding rhythmic assault, although thankfully it entertains almost as much as it scares the shit out of you.

 

After that unsettling beginning the album kind of works a few kinks out. The band still jerk things around a bit, as if trying to stop themselves from delving too much into 'anthemic' territory and, to be honest, they can be quite pleasant and calming on occasion. The thing is, you're always on edge, afraid that the drummer may just flip out at any moment and start bashing things again. He's like fucking Michael Myers or something. Lurking in the shadows, waiting for his moment to pounce and slash your nipples off.

 

I wish I could say that he does come back at the end too but ,you'll be sad to hear, the band keep him in check from track three onwards and the album loses a bit of the momentum that incredible opening couple of numbers builds up. Unlike the best horror villains, this guy is safely locked into a box of steady rhythms and although what follows is still very clever and reasonably entertaining, I could have done with an ending as bewildering as the beginning.

 

If you're looking for something a bit different and less formulaic than much of what passes for indie rock at the moment, then this is worth a shot, although I wouldn't advise going near the opening couple of tracks with a hangover. And hey, everyone likes a bit of crash bang wallop, don't they?

 

Words : Damian Leslie