Concept albums are a tricky business, too often coming across as confining or cheesy. A listener would have every reason to be wary of Menomena’s Moms, which does in fact revolve around the duo’s family relationships. On paper, it sounds like it shouldn’t work. Through the headphones, it’s bliss.
The lyrics of the album are immediate and confrontational, raw and telling. “Plumage” speaks to loneliness and the need to settle down (“Cos I don’t want to be just anybody to you/I want to be your one and only mate for life”). “Pique” analyzes the burden of growing up and pulling away from a single mother (“When I grew up, you grew lonely/Now I can’t be what you need”). Perhaps the most tragic track, and the deepest, is “Heavy Is as Heavy Does,” which features lyrics like, “Heavy are the branches hanging from my fucked up family tree.”
Menomena have always pushed genre boundaries, mixing their indie rock with horns, pianos, and electronic elements. Moms then is a departure by holding together more as a unit. Menomena have not sacrificed a bit of their creativity but instead have honed it into something far greater.