By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
To hear Menkena's people tell it, the Dallas band's debut album, With You I'll Travel, is the next great shoegaze masterpiece, full of all the shimmering layers of tinny guitars, nearly indistinguishable vocals and spacey loops you'd expect from the category. That's not exactly what you get with Menkena's album. With You I'll Travel does have some hallmarks of shoegaze—but that's not the whole story. Rather, it's a much warmer and more welcoming album, seemingly full of romance. To call this album a shoegaze disc is to nod at the hints and references strewn throughout this album; it's hardly an overall statement. No, this album plays more like a sequel to Beck's Sea Change than lost outtakes from Slowdive's Blue Day.
Atmospheric and ambient, songs like "I'm One" and "The Landing" sound like Eno leftovers from the late '70s, while folky tunes like the title track and "Emma's House" hint that frontman Jimmy Menkena could be the next king of convenience, minus the accent.
There's also some louder stuff—like "Shivonne" and the opener, "Red In The Morning"—that really put the atmospheric interplays at the forefront and give the album its most sonically satisfying moments. Then again, the whole album is pretty satisfying—dreamy and lush, too.
But if you're holding out for Loveless redux, look elsewhere.