Drifting between order and disarray, Menomena’s fourth album is like an exercise in controlled chaos. While Menomena are still working in layers of fractured harmony, Mines feels like one of their more focused efforts to date. Given the density of the songs here, reining themselves in couldn’t have been a small feat, and the album probably owes a lot to its relatively downtempo feeling. The careful, plodding pace of songs like “Lunchmeat” and “Tithe” gives Menomena plenty of time to find their way around the songs, patiently adding and removing layer upon layer to the songs until listeners suddenly find themselves amidst a swirling maelstrom of melody. This kind of control gives Mines a roller coaster feeling, with slow buildups leading to a frenzy of activity, with the whole thing giving the impression that it could go off the rails at any time when in reality you’re safe and secure, with the album only offering the promise of danger when in reality the chances of things getting out of control are slim. It’s that slight promise of danger, however, that makes Mines an exciting listen. Track after track, Menomena perform this kind of complicated juggling act, adding more and more balls to the mix, and just when it seems that things are about to drop, the band reels it all back in, takes a bow, and does the whole thing over again. What’s surprising, though, is that despite its density, Mines is a thoroughly accessible album from start to finish, meaning fans both old and new will have no trouble diving into its easygoing rhythms, and if they stick around to fully explore its depths, they’ll find that there’s plenty to like.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney