Friend and Foe(Barsuk)

On the surface Menomena seems to be merely a pop band. They revel in the light and airy harmonies their hometown brethren the Shins are building a career on, and they roll with attention-grabbing hooks aplenty But Menomena is also weird — not so much in the NYC art-damaged-but-aware sense. Their pretty tunes crumble into slightly pitched down vocals instead of traditional second verses; off-kilter breakbeats form the basis for a number of tracks, and every once in awhile a few horns blast in for some fleeting but appropriate measures. What holds Friend and Foe together, even more so than on the band’s debut I Am the Fun Blame Monster, is a knack for melodies that can weave their way through the wonderfully knotty cut and paste compositions. It may sound grating at times, or at least unexpectedly complicated, but deep down Menomena’s music is simply a series of solid takes on traditional pop structure, made interesting by their slightly skewed approach.


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