Monday, January 08, 2007

Menomena are the favorite band of someone who is smarter than be. I imagine them as being younger, too. Their new album, Friend And Foe, is better than their first record, I Am The Fun Blame Monster, even though the same issue afflicts it. All of the songs are huge. Not in terms of length, like that Joanna Newsom record, but in terms of density of movement, how much is happening at any given moment. A lot of the songs are strong enough to serve as openers. Every song is an album in miniature, possessed of tiny thrilling movements. Every sound is huge- The drums could break fingers. I hear that this album, when released, will have art by Craig Thompson, a lot of it in a little booklet. Holy shit these songs are ridiculous. The lyrics are accessible as anthems or anything that would be on a rock radio ballad, but they're delivered as something careening, not safe enough to ride in without smashing your head multiple times against a window.

Every song is a bomb going off on a city block. The album jumps over the city, from territory to territory, finding different spaces to eradicate, and every little bit of demolition seems different. It's all fucking crazy. It's all a bit too much. It's like how when I watched Children Of Men, I was hoping for Car by Built To Spill over the end-credits. But that movie's too prog for such things. (The soundtrack has King Crimson on it, as well as Radiohead, remixes of Aphex Twin, a muzak-y cover of Ruby Tuesday by The Rolling Stones, and classical soundtrack music.)

Children Of Men is a good movie. Arguably great. It's got the stuff of greatness in it. But there's also a whole hell of a lot of "Wait why is this happening?" that is never resolved. Weird holes in the center of a science-fiction movie. As an action movie, it's well-done and brutal, thrilling and unexpectedly moving when the tension lets up just because of how nice it is that the tension lets up. As a political movie, it's muddled because of that issue of "why are things happening?" It's political in general, addressing that things exist, but just giving you an apocalypse in response. Alfonso Cuaron also made Y Tu Mama Tambien, and that movie was similarly a little bit overrated, and weird in its presentation of politics as backdrop. People respond to the presence of the politics, and see their sympathies in a weird horror about other people's reactions to immigration. Dystopianism. This was the stuff that got to me too- The moment of tension relief comes when someone says "Ceasefire" and somehow that speaks to a brief moment off in the future, our real future, when such things are widespread. A moment in miniature that gets to that hope by its ability to create a small world so tense and reflective of our own if only vaguely.

It also makes me think of the Destroyer song off City Of Daughters "No Ceasefires (Crimes Against The State Of Our Love, Baby)" although for no real reason. But you know, that simplicity, that relief of tension. "Think globally, act nobley" is how that song starts and it's what Children Of Men does, and so kudos are given. But I just wish I knew why things were happening, the same way that I wish Menomena gave you the occasional foothold.

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