Armed with catchy indie pop hooks and needling post-punk guitar lines, the new band Meneguar instantly enchants with its EP debut, I Was Born At Night. Based in N.Y., Meneguar originally released the EP last year on Magic Bullet Records. The CD saw a release this past summer on Troubleman Unlimited.
Formed in 2004, the band has quickly garnered critical acclaim from magazines like CMJ and AP, and with good reason. Meneguar’s songs are so infectious that they almost seem instantly familiar. The vocals for each song, be they during a verse, chorus or bridge, are delivered so emphatically that each individual part is a mini-anthem. These pop songs are powerfully engaging, but sitll rock quite thoroughly.
I Was Born At Night opens with the post-punkly pulsing guitar intro of “House of Cats.” Recalling such bands as Q and Not U, the tune is a solid opener. It follows the logic of all great pop songs: give the crowd a chorus it can learn and shout out by the end of the song.
The EP gets a little bit dirtier on the brief “Kids Get Cut.” The production is a bit muddled and thick, but that works for a band like this. It adds to the punky, jerking rhythm of the songs, especially during the thunderous drum rolls. The next track, “A Few Minutes An Hour,” takes some time to jam out, showcasing the band’s knack for not only delivering hooks, but rocking out as well.
“The Temp” keeps on driving the listener with jangley guitars and punky drums. The chorus plows straight ahead as frontman Steven Jarvis Taveniere sings, “I’m all that’s left of this soulful mess,” which would be a downer if he didn’t sing it so awesomely. Meanwhile, on “Christmas Isn’t Christmas,” the band finds a way to be even more angular and geeky-awkward in its verses than with its other songs, but balances it all out with yet another rollicking chorus. Hipsters could cut loose to this kind of stuff, but these songs deserve to be served to the public. The last two songs, “Hands Off” and “Wounded Knee,” follow suit.
This EP is a delectable sampling of what Meneguar is capable of unleashing. Sure, some parts of I Was Born At Night sound like they were recorded on a boom box, but the production isn’t so low-fi that it obscures the high quality of the songs’ hooks. Meneguar will certainly appeal to fans of Q and Not U, Modest Mouse, Bloc Party and ’80s-era R.E.M. Here’s hoping the band’s full length debut, due out sometime early in 2007, will follow up on the promise of this EP.