September 23, 2007

Review: Meneguar | Strangers In Our House [MP3]

Meneguar -- Strangers In Our HouseBarring any surprises, Strangers In Our House is the rock record of 2007. During the two years since Meneguar's prior EP was first released, fan anticipation for a full-length debut has been excruciating, and was only fleetingly slaked by the 2006 "Bury A Flower" single. Thankfully, the Brooklyn indie rock quartet used the time to patiently perfect a record that delivers on the promises of (and powerfully re-articulates the premises of) the powerhouse I Was Born At Night [review]. Strangers In Our House is a tense collection of unabashed rockers rife with sing-along choruses, big dynamics and smart guitar/bass interplay.

There are enough anthems among the 11 tracks to release nearly as many singles. Of course, every anthem needs a memorable rallying cry, and lyrically Meneguar meets the challenge. Singer and guitarist Jarvis Taverniere repeatedly confesses "at the bottom of my heart there is a ledge" in the up-tempo album highlight "Paint You." Perhaps none of the tracks is as confrontational as earlier fist-bangers such as "Kids Get Cut," "The Temp" or "House Of Cats." But the new songs remain as tightly wound, while Meneguar injects more exposition -- not to showcase wankery (hot metal licks or Wakeman-esque prog flourishes), but as a vehicle to balance multiple wiry melodic ideas across the back of the pummeling rhythm section.

The exposition, as well as the gang vocals on the choruses, adds new dimension to music that heretofore thrived on the blunt force of relatively flat production. No small feat, since at least some of Strangers In Our House was recorded in the band's own house (read more about the recording process of Strangers here). A case in point is the new version of "Bury A Flower." Along with chimes and synth, the iteration on Strangers is augmented with an extended outro that almost grooves. The paint-peeling opener "Table 2" emerges from dense strumming cloaked in reverb, and closer "1,000 Actors" recesses into a quiet jam before receding altogether.

Troubleman Unlimited issues Strangers In Our House Tuesday. The set is being released on CD and three different colors of vinyl (although as we reported earlier, white is already sold out). A European pressing of the record issued by Release The Bats has different art work. Meneguar also has plans to issue two one-sided 12" records, but release dates have not yet been made public. The band has been touring Europe since early this month, and will hit the UK this week before returning to the U.S. in late fall; dates as they currently stand are listed below. Troubleman was cool enough to permit us to offer an MP3, so have a listen to the rocktastic "Table 2."

Meneguar -- "Table 2" -- Strangers In Our House
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[buy Strangers In Our House here]

Meneguar -- "Freshman Thoughts" [video] -- Strangers In Our House

Meneguar: InterWeb | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

10/17 -- The Art Damage Lodge -- Cincinnati, Ohio
10/18 -- DAAC -- Grand Rapids, Michigan
10/19 -- People Projects -- Chicago, Illinois
10/20 -- TBA -- Madison, Wisconsin
10/21 -- Oleavers Pub -- Omaha, Nebraska
10/22 -- Eagle’s Lodge -- Wichita, Kansas
10/23 -- Rhinoceropolis -- Denver, Colorado
10/25 -- The Visual Art Collective -- Boise, Idaho
10/26 -- Healthy Times Fun Club -- Seattle, Washington
10/27 -- Satyricon -- Portland, Oregon
10/31 -- Pink Mailbox -- Goleta, California
11/02 -- The Barnyard -- Clovis/Fresno, California
11/03 -- The Smell -- Los Angeles, California
11/04 -- Echo Curio -- Los Angeles, California
11/05 -- Che Cafe -- San Diego, California
11/09 -- Emos -- Austin, Texas
11/10 -- 715 Panhandle -- Denton, Texas
11/12 -- TBA -- Little Rock, Arkansas

Previous Meneguar Coverage:

That Was The Show That Was: Meneguar | Oxfam Cafe
Show Us Yours #7: Meneguar
Review: Meneguar | I Was Born At Night

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