Technological advancements in the ways music can now be recorded are marvelous, and Friend and Foe, the second proper full-length from Portland multi-instrumentalist trio Menomena, is proof. Its disparate experimental pop songs are organized, assembled and bound by the seamlessly random deconstructive process of the band's Deeler computer application -- a databank that records and stores snippets of the band's randomly looped instrumentation (piano, bass, drums, baritone saxes, shakers and bells). The band stitches the sounds back together and then layers vocals on top. Like the ones on their debut, I Am the Fun Blame Monster, the grand arrangements on Friend and Foe are meticulously and cohesively reconstructed to sound as though nothing had ever been chopped up. From the opening tracks "Muscle N' Flo" and "The Pelican," which both start off simple then slowly morph into complex and captivating pop concoctions, Menomena gives listeners pop music that is intriguing and organic, a major work that'll truly make you think. -- Travis Ritter
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