Meaningmore, Mentira Mentira
Nene Records, Mexico
by Carlos Reyes
Back in the winter holidays of 2009, before the exile of the Monterrey indie scene to the Mexican capital, our circle of trusted tastemakers made sure to build significant buzz for the new great band in town, Mentira Mentira. Two years later, the promising band has proven to be more than a stroke of infernal glow. The opening sequence in MM’s debut LP, Meaningmore, is a combustive line of resonant drums where MM’s conductor, Gaby Noriega, makes us jump drastically into a blood-rushing chase that seems to be spiraling from many blocks away. When the melody mutineer shouts, “Let’s keep on waiting!” one learns to recognize this procession as an admonition to formative rock and an amendment to the Mentira Mentira jargon.
This sort of around-the-corner vibe in the band’s nostalgic spectrum provides the emotional tissue necessary to afford roundness in an album that’s as captivatingly uncouth in its production and as wildly obsolete in its topics. From very early in the album, Noriega makes sure everyone knows how unconcerned he is with employing music form (or providing for an any easy listening experience), but there’s something so adherent from one track to the next and within the songs themselves to claim otherwise. Whether it’s in the proportional carnage found in modern hard rock or in the banquet of psychedelia that derives from it, there’s always a line of harmonies that rises up to the occasion. Yes, somewhere within MM’s throat roaring in “Turnaway” and the riff-clouded environment in “All My Bones,” there is room for melodic hope and retaliation - it’s beautifully condescending, but also inherently arousing.
Just like the pop elements that seem to naturally catch up with Noriega’s self-serving pieces, trouble also has a way to find him. A recent performance in his native Tijuana turned chaotic when the audience didn’t appreciate the provocative, tone-decaying wit found in MM’s live shows (they obviously had not experienced Meaningmore in all its depth). Because really, once you realize the Mentira Mentira experience is a double-edged abstraction of teen spirit and rock nostalgia, it’s best to carve into your senses and just run along with it. Album highlight “My LSD” plays like that big anthem every band should be entitled to, yet it also has the characteristics of an anti-single. It’s this raw combination of escalating noise and catchy hooks that might alienate more than a few, in fact, the majority. The most accessible tracks on Meaningmore (those that go beyond the three-minute mark) avert short timings and contemplate soundscape as a sort of dawn-tinted work-in-progress.
We often talk about authorship as a way to add credibility to those subjects who turn into misfits whenever given the chance, so it's not a surprise to see Noriega’s self-instinctive codes of rock and roll conduct shine in amplification throughout this remarkable first album. It’s also fascinating to see a one-man operation so ferociously conceived despite the obvious agonizing wounds toward existentialism (two decades since Nevermind came out, and we can’t seem to get over ourselves). Meaningmore is the bewilderment of feeling meaningless in an absurd world. Colorful ropes and vintage Mickey Mouse sweaters outweigh gothic sway in MM’s wardrobe, perhaps the most arcane showing of modern rock absolution. Meaningmore is a troublesome and captivating album that's been best described by its producer Mou (Bam Bam, XYX) as something that “sounds like it will blow up the speakers.” Agree.