This Portland trio clearly doesn't want people to know much about its background. Its latest album, Friend and Foe, though visually impressive with its cutout CD booklet and clever use of contrasting colors, contains almost nothing in the way of information about the band. The band also makes a concerted effort to let us know that it's tired of discussing how it composes songs using a looping software program named Deeler. All of which leaves us to the immortal words of Joe Perry, who once famously implored us to let the music do the talking. You can't really tell that this music is born out of loops anyway, but you can tell that it arises from a highly original songwriting process and a tastefully unconventional approach to recording. In fact, Friend and Foe provides more evidence that there may be intelligent life making contact with us from a parallel post-indie universe. A few years back, Shipping News and the Dismemberment Plan bravely shed all the familiar trappings of indie rock and forged new ground. Likewise, Menomena presents us with a truly progressive vision of the indie aesthetic that's mercifully free of all its familiar clichés. In a sense, Menomena—essentially a keys, drums and bass trio that masterfully incorporates various keyboards and a ton of other instruments in its live show—nullifies the term "indie" altogether and blazes a strikingly individual path.


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