Last month ALARM presented its 50 favorite albums of 2012, an eclectic, rock-heavy selection of discs that were in steady rotation in our downtown-Chicago premises. Now, to give some love to tunes that were left out, we have our 50 (+5) favorite songs of last year — singles, B-sides, EP standouts, soundtrack cuts, and more.
As the opener on Menomena‘s Moms — possibly the best pop album of 2012 — “Plumage” is a stark announcement of a resurgent duo. Down a key component when multi-instrumentalist/co-singer Brent Knopf left the quirky former trio, Menomena has come out no worse for the wear — and, in fact, has delivered some of its finest material ever.
Enjoy the video as Danny Seim and Justin Harris escalate an ever-advancing four-minute showdown.
At the beginning of 2012, when multi-instrumentalist/co-singer Brent Knopf left quirk-rock trio Menomena, the future of the Portland band felt uncertain. Knopf’s tenor perfectly complemented Justin Harris’s and Danny Seim’s vocals, and his guitar work helped structure Menomena songs into hook-ridden frameworks.
But within just the first few minutes of Moms, the first Menomena release as a two-piece, it’s quite clear that Menomena will be just fine. For the most part, the classic Menomena tropes remain: Seim’s sporadic and intricate drumming, Harris’s swelling saxophone and bass lines, and a swarm of slow-burning strings, sprinkling keys, and hazy harmonies. Even the unconventional guitar work is in place, making it almost feel like Knopf never left. There’s seldom a hiccup or misstep, with standout tracks like “Pique,” “Baton,” and “Skintercourse,” among others, serving as stepping stones through a lagoon of sweltering rock-outs and bipolar dirges.