Meneguar – Strangers In Our House

Strangers In Our House

What do you need to know about Meneguar’s new release Strangers In Our House? It’s from Troubleman, a label that has lots of solid artists to recommend it. The CD comes with some nice packaging: art-designed covers with interesting juxtapositions of images, more whacked-out images inside, full lyrics tucked in an inner pocket. And the music…

The album starts with the galloping “Table 2,” a punk-paced take on what it’s like to counsel the disillusioned. Imagine taking Les Savy Fav, speeding it up, and having Long Fin Killie’s singer at the mic. The Les Savy Fav comparison is hard to avoid on certain other songs as well. “Scrape And A Pull” bears this out structurally and sonically, what with the choppy guitar intermissions and the rhythmic shifts. Likewise “Death On Display,” with other Savy flourishes cropping up here and elsewhere. This isn’t a bad thing, though, as fans of the one band will almost surely enjoy the other. Not a ripoff, not an homage, just a kinship.

The Meneguar sound is a combination of unusual melodies, emphatic drums, cryptic bass (for one thing, it jumps from high to low at unexpected times – following and then departing from your expectations), and passionate singing. “Passionate singing” sounds emo, but it’s not meant that way. It just means that the vocals are sung with conviction. The lyrics move from the abstract to the concrete and back again, much like the images and photographs contained in the album’s packaging. It’s intelligently done. In fact, the music is intelligently done: on the surface it’s like a lot of other indie rock but compositionally there’s a lot going on.

Earlier, Meneguar released a 7″ of “Bury A Flower” and “Freshman Thoughts,” both of which appear on Strangers In Our House. They’re fine examples of the band’s modus operandi, yes, but truth be told any of the songs on the CD would make a decent single. If the band were wooing Futureheads fans, it might have released “Hurry Up” backed with “One Thousand Actors.” Those two songs equal or better most anything Futureheads put on their last album and get at what was engaging about Futureheads’ first release.

One thing that’s lacking here is a pronunciation guide to the band’s name. Is it meNEGuar? MEneguar? meneGUAR? It helps to know this when you want to recommend the album to your friends, which you’ll probably do with a greater frequency than you did with most of the albums you heard this year.