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on January 10, 2005
This little Fun-Blame Monster sure came outta nowhere, didn't it? I mean, we have pitchfork throwing up a "featured review" one moment, followed by a chorus of indie kids and online mags screaming "hell ya!" and then it's forgotten in time for the year-end best-of lists... It came and went so fast that I'd mostly forgotten about it until I randomly came upon a used copy at the local record shop. The crude dragon drawing on the front insisted that I give it a sample listen, and, rolling my eyes, I grudgingly obliged. Now about this local record store, I have to give them credit that they even have listening stations for the used c.d.s. Still, they make it pretty clear that they don't want you there too long by making it very uncomfortable- you stand in a little booth with nothing to lean on or sit on. I wasn't planning on being there too long- only 30 secs a song, 9 songs, a quick little five minutes, right? I pressed play...and stood there for the whole 45 minute runtime. Man, it blew me away.

The first thing that sucks you in is the drumming. It pummels you with complex, danceable, near-hip-hop beats- not unlike those from the Flaming Lips Soft Bulletin. And then, the melodies come in, weave a tapestry in your head, and keep you eagerly anticipating each new moment. Piano, Saxophone, Keyboards and bass flow together in most unexpected and blissful ways. I can't remember when I last heard such bewilderingly ornate melodies- those perfect tunes that never repeat a single time more than they have to, and that reward every time you listen but are never to obtuse to leave your head.

Each song exemplifies an unique approach, but it's a wonderfully sequenced album with many of the pieces flowing into each other. Really, the only weak link are the lyrics, which are pleasant but certainly not standout. But this is POP music of the highest order. The whole stands together as an ode to the clarity that comes out of loneliness- those 4 am moments when you stare out your window, perfectly content to be perfectly alone.

Yup, it was "left-field" alright, so left-field it seems it's already been forgotten. That's a real shame- this is, without a doubt, one of the most brilliant pop records in recent years. Grab it while you can.
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on October 11, 2005
First of all, "I Am the Fun Blame Monster" is an awesome album title because it is an anagram of "Menomena's First Album"...who does that?! Regardless of their inventive album title, Menomena's sound is also wildly creative. The thought and experimentation that went into this album is incredible and I hope everyone gets to experience the wonder of the monster...plus, the album presentation is something to be proud of and, best of all, fun to play with. I bought the album for my boyfriend and was very tempted to keep it for myself ;)
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on January 3, 2005
West coast trio Menomena's debut album is very good one. I gotta say that this album grew on me, at first I wasn't that impressed due to the musics subtlty. If you are not paying attention it can slip by you. They sound like a hybrid of Blur's less guitar driven material (especially The Late Great Libido) mixed with later day Radiohead, some Portishead and perhaps a dash of Tori Amos (if she were a guy) all run through an almost hip-hop mentality. But unlike most of those bands, and most pop music made on the planet, Menomena don't follow a verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus structure. Its a structurely more aventurous, looser, yet not unfocused sound that harkens back somewhat to the best days of progressive rock in the '70s. (Think the Canterbury scene of bands like Caravan, Gilgamesh or Camel without the guitars or Robert Wyatt)

Much of I Am The Fun Blame Monster (anagram for Menomena's First Album) is quite beautiful and melodic, other bits are more rhythmic or atmospheric, on ocassion it rocks, and it's oftimes subtley suprising. I like that the body of the songs are played by keyboards, usually piano with electronic punctuations. The guitar, when there is one is mostly used as more of an accent instrument. Perhaps the weakest part about Menomena are the vocals, which are a bit nondescript. But that's a small complaint. Their website is hard to navigate (you'll see why if you go there) but contains a lot of information such as to how they used proprietary computer software to aid in the writing of their songs. Not the playing, but the composing. They would record various bits of jams/improvs, reassemble them in the computer and then learn and play the new arrangements live. Very interesting. This band has the potential to be a great one.
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on July 30, 2010
Reviewing a Album that came out 7 years ago is not as easy as you think it would be due to the time and aging the album aquires from everyone collectively puting in there 2 cents about album. First, I need to start my review with a little bit of a backcround story. A couple Days ago Menomena released the album "Mines". After a few days of listening, i wanted to more know of this band. The cover of the album showed up on my recommended albums so of course i checked it out

Man, have I been missing out on something great here. "Mines" and "Friend or foes" are both fantastic albums, deep with unique sound of there own but something about "I am the fun blame monster" has a sound needs to be heard through nothing but undevided attetion. And truly what i like about menomena is that it all feels very improvised but the song arrangement holds the ideals thats seems like the band members have kept in there head, just waiting to get it all down on recording. The drumming, the vocals, the guitars, everything on this album is aranged perfectly. If i can be in a band I could only dream of playing music like this with others. Anybody that is a Fan of songs like "Strongest Man on earth" and "Twenty Cell Revolt" can imagine themself in a basement playing these songs for hours on end. Alot of the song arrangements on here are just plain beautiful. The Saxaphone in "The Late great Libido" is one of the best additions to drums i've ever heard on a song. Being stuck in the sounds of the pianos seem far too easy for what else is going on in the songs. Now the vocals, are so diverse. With the pass the mic thing going on i feel like i'm hearing a story from diffrent perspectives with each song. By far, and i mean way way far the best song on this album is "Oahu". This song could play for days and i could never get over it.

7 years late on this album the only thing about it is that its not more know. Its reassuring knowing also that "menomena" will keep making music like this, and if they pull this kind of album off again it would be doing the impossible.
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on December 25, 2004
If there's one overused hipster complaint that can't be leveled at Menomena, it's that of unoriginality. What other bands today are using an ensemble of live bass, piano, and drums to create indie rock masterpieces with a distinct techno-pop mentality, and pulliing it off with such unpredictable flair? I Am The Fun Blame Monster is at turns fun, beautiful, mysterious, and menacing -- and it never ceases to surprise all the way through the end of its almost 45-minute runtime. Not bad for a band that, at the time of the album's release, had yet to tour beyond their hometown.

Perhaps the most striking facet of Menomena's sound is the true weight of all of their instrumentation. Not content to hide behind hollow laptop beats, these tracks are propelled with a more satisfying groove than you're likely to find in 90% of today's electronic music. It's an effect that is achieved mainly through solid drumming pounded out on a real, meaty drumset. Guitars are used sparingly, so that when they show up in the mix it comes as a sort of revelation, while the piano commands the bulk of the record's melodic presence. Imagine The Notwist played by a live band with more punch than an entire army of computers could muster.

Of course, this quality alone would not be sufficient if it wasn't for the group's restlessly ingenious songwriting. Standout tracks like "The Late Great Libido" and "The Monkey's Back" are masterful, and the record is full of their kind. In fact, it's tough to put a finger on any real weak moment -- it's too unfailingly creative to grow stale. At a time when Radiohead is almost as boring as the countless bands that are copping their tiresome British falsetto, it's refreshing to see a band as utterly unhyped as Menomena creating excellent music that fuses innovation with real energy and warmth. I Am The Fun Blame Monster stands out as one of the greatest achievements in a very productive year for music.
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on March 12, 2005
I'm almost ashamed to say that I've just recently started listening to this band, even though they hail from my city, good old gritty Portland, OR. Though I really can't comment on the mathematics and computer programming of this music (though somehow that impresses me in a geeky kind of way), I can tell you in my humble opinion, that this album is mature and sophisticated, yet not at all inaccessible. I'm thoroughly impressed with their crashing orchestral sound... and equally blown away by the fact that they totally rock!!

As it's been said before, there is this sort of low-fi Radiohead quality to their stuff, but I hestitate labeling or associating Menomena too closely with them. After listening to this album with complete abandon, I feel like I've been through an Experience. I'm spent, but thoroughly invigorated and hopeful.
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on April 12, 2007
Wow. This band is truly refreshing. They are a rainbow paisley oasis in a desert of brown Dockers. I hope they stick around for a long time.
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on May 5, 2007
A true test to how good an album is: how many times can u listen to it in a row and still discover something new with each listen. By the 5th spin i'm hooked. Truly a bunch of guys to celebrate. Off-key, puzzling, beautiful tapestry of funk, rock and piano. When the piano kicks in on 'cough coughing' i had butterflies in my chest. I can't wait to hear their other albums.
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on December 11, 2004
Um, yeah... what he said. Seriously.

And the guy before him.

And the guy before him (their website is a little wierd, but, whatever).

AND the guy before him. The poor man's Radiohead. HA!

Or better yet, the rich man's Menomena.
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on December 26, 2004
these guys are great. this album was a total surprise to me. I only hope i can get the chance to see them. unsuspecting beats meet new noises, wonderful vocals...it all just goes up and down around each corner something new. totally fresh. they deserve massive sucess
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