Meneguar - Strangers in Our House (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Strangers in Our House (2007)

Troubleman Unlimited

A little over a year after the re-release of the band's debut EP, I Was Born at Night, post-punkers Meneguar returned with their first full-length, Strangers in Our House. First, the short story: It sounds exactly like I Was Born at Night, just, you know, longer. Here's the not-quite-short story:

Strangers in Our House finds Meneguar solidifying its sound. Asserting it, perhaps. Needling guitars and emphatically nasally vocals combine with energetic drums to force the average Modest Mouse or Bloc Party fan to at least nod a head or tap a toe. Tracks like "Bury a Flower" and "Death on Display" might make them do both, depending on their coordination.

Album opener "Table 2" starts off with some guitar noise, but once the notes start hitting for realsies, the song is all business. The pace is punchy and the guitars are jangly -- your cat will love it. After "Table 2" comes "Bury a Flower," which is 30 seconds longer, and with lusher instrumentation. That twinkling xylophone really does make a difference. Self-contained and shimmering, this one should be a single.

From there the album pulls few surprises, but it does deliver some great hooks. Meneguar's energy rarely falters on this record. "Living in the White" boasts the repetition of the phrase "Let it go," and while that's amazingly simple, it's also simply amazing. Throw in some sweet guitar interplay on the bridge, and you've got yourself a prime mixtape candidate.

The only drawback to Strangers in Our House is the lack of diversity. While the album has its fair share of highlights, there's little to differentiate between tracks during the 37-minute running time. Granted, this might have been intentional, as this is the band's debut LP. Perhaps the guys were aiming for "cohesion," but they erred closer to "formulaic." Aside from the low-key outro to album ender "One Thousand Actors," little changes from track to track, which leaves a slightly less-than-fulfilling aftertaste to the full-length.

All the same, though, Strangers in Our House is a solid post-punk record by an up-and-coming band. Recommended for fans of Q and Not U and the first two Pretty Girls Make Graves records, Meneguar serves up fun, catchy concoctions. Good, but not great, at least the album will inspire a jig or two.