A tense-but-cohesive descent into darkness
Truth be told, it's amazing this album's even out. As Menomena's drummer/singer (Danny Seim, last heard fronting Lackthereof) admits in the band's bio, "brutal disagreements, unrelenting grudges and failed marriages" threatened to tear the trio apart in the three-and-a-half years since Friend and Foe. The tension's clear on every single cut — the group is pulled in countless creative directions, from the skittish drums that cut across "Tithe" to the defeat-and-despair that drives "Dirty Cartoons" off a cliff.
Considering all of the bickering, and the fact that all three members sing and are self-proclaimed control freaks, you'd think Mines would sound like a loosely linked collection of solo EPs. And yet, it does feel like one cohesive statement; a minor-key descent into darkness, sure, but a cohesive statement nonetheless.
So if this is the beginning of the end for three longtime friends, they're at least taking it seriously — their focus yields such rewarding details as the slurred sax lines of "Bote," the prickly piano progressions of "Killemall" and the freaky funk nods of "Oh Pretty Boy, You're Such a Big Boy." Now if only some light would peek in the end of Menomena's tunnel — before it's too late.