Record Label: Barsuk Records
Families hey, love ‘em or hate ‘em, we’ve all got one. Moms especially, you’ve gotta love your Mom, everyone needs some Mom advice from time to time and what about a Mommy hug when things are really shit? Nothing compares, right? With their fifth LP, Menomena delve deeply into the psyche of the family and on the whole it’s not all BBQ’s and swing sets, this is an album that has a deep seated detachment where it comes to the home nest. Aptly the album is entitled simply, Moms.
Menomena, now a duo after Brent Knopf flew the coop, combined forces taking five songs each with Danny Siem exploring the death of his mother which happened when he was a teenager while Justin Harris has detailed his formative years being raised by a single mother after his Dad upped and left. ‘Heavy Is As Heavy Does’ manages to encapsulate the record and it’s dismay with the opening gambit of “Heavy are the branches hanging from my fucked up family tree/And heavy was my father a stoic man of pride and privacy”. Equally on album opener, the jubilant piano and handclaps can’t detract from the dismissive words of “Even when you draw me near/I know you’re still an arms length away”. Moms continue the themes of disconnected love and relationships with ‘Skintercourse’ where Siem reflects that he “I fell in love with the feeling of being in love/I should have known it would never last”.
It’s hardly a first that a band decides to release of record centred around elements that could be construed as miserable, however with Moms, the lyrical estrangements bleed through into the listening experience. To paraphrase the opening track, it’s like being kept at arms length for fifty minutes. Musically the band’s latest offering has a clutch of highlights; one being the buzzsaw guitar found on ‘Capsule’ that sadly dissolves into nothingness after thirty five seconds. However the majority of the record seems happy to saunter along nonchalantly with the occasionally smattering of piano or brass. The ten minute closer ‘One Horse’ is a saving grace, this is down to the layered strings that provide a theatrical finale. The deconstructed beats especially at the very end of the track are a welcome addition to an otherwise mediocre album
Moms feels alienated from its listener almost like it’s happy to be a part time parent instead of showering its children with love.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams