Menomena has a sound all its own. One of the members, Brent Knopf, invented a complex digital looping program he calls the Deeler that the Portland, Oregon, band uses during recording. Menomena is musically versatile and ambitious, too, able to chop up and loop together a kitchen-sink jumble of tech-savvy art-rock — saxophones, xylophones, bells, a tinkling piano, whatever. The group's music geeks have a billion ideas, but they're not overly brainy, and they have the skill and vision to create cohesive, lasting compositions. Their latest, last year's Mines, is typically layered and exploratory, but they've pared things back a touch, giving the songs more room to breathe. God knows how much got left on the cutting-room floor.
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