Stars Are Held By Strings
- Artist: Menlo
- Format: CD
- Release Date:9/10/2002
These are a few reviews of Menlo's album and then their biography. Space-age atmospheric guitars that are grounded by down-to-earth honest lyrics fill your ears in 'The Stars Are Held By Strings', the first full-length release from Milwaukee's Menlo. The opening song '(Battlestar) Galactica' plays with the listener's idea of the structure of the song by constantly building to a chorus that only comes until the very end. Thom Geibel's sweeping effect-laden guitar carries Gregory Borden's lyrics through nine more tracks with an edgy pop sound that could be mistaken for the red-headed stepchild of Radiohead and Toad The Wet Sprocket, but somehow Menlo manages to make the sound their own. Sometimes it can be unpredictable and distinct, but the sound never discriminates the listener. UWM-Post - Jason Keil ....... The Stars Are Held By Strings was recorded in Chicago with Keith Cleversley, a producer who's helped shape great records by The Flaming Lips and Hum among many others. Slick but not overly so, the album nicely captures the band's sound--Midwestern rock meets bombastic pop. The Onion Review - The Onion Staff ....... More Nick Drake or Coldplay rather than Bowie or Space Hog. Menlo expounds on familiar ideas or themes, but makes them their own, as illustrated in 'Hi-Fi Disease' and 'Only the Good Will Get to Heaven.' Almost thematic, the songs move together fluidly, like background music for a nuclear holocaust. At the center of it all, Greg Borden's vocals ring clear, sweet and true... Listening to 'How Sweet/Tedious' one can't help but imagine him as a new Lennon sans hypocrisy or a Brian Wilson without the pathos. The Press Review - The Press Staff ....... MENLO BIOGRAPHY A potent combination of heartfelt lyrics and effect-laden guitars grace the sound of Menlo, the Indie pop/rock quartet from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their sound is matched in spirit by such guitar-centered acts as The Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters and Weezer, as well as the ethereal modern sounds of Radiohead, Travis, and Built to Spill. Soaring guitars and passionate vocals intertwine to create a dynamic sound. Taking their name from Thomas Edison's famed lab Menlo Park, the band Menlo formed as a four-piece in early 2001 and recorded an EP only a month after their formation. If I Were You, And You Were Me was released independently in May 2001. Organic in sound and texture, it showcased the band's mix of indie spirit and pop sensibility. Soon after the release they played numerous shows that served as both a source of exposure and an opportunity to expand on their already maturing sound. Experimenting with samplers, keyboards and synthesizers, their sound grew and became more focused and distinct. They also quickly became masters of self-promotion, with artistic flyers often containing hidden messages, self-produced CD samplers, and a growing website that allowed fans to get to download songs and get to know them. The band caught the attention of Chicago producer Keith Cleversely, the sonic scientist behind such indie icons as Hum and the Flaming Lips. They entered The Playground in Chicago for a marathon 7-day recording session in March 2002. The final product, The Stars Are Held By Strings, is a ten-song album of introspection and stunning swirling sounds. It's tracks, from the compelling '(Battlestar) Galactica' about a couple watching 70's reruns and wishing they could take everyone they loved away on a spaceship, to the ballad-esque 'Slowdivecentury' are a testament to the band's commitment to their craft. Gregory Borden's eclectic vocals and sincere delivery adds a subtle charm throughout while Thom Geibel's mastery of guitar effects lends the album a sound as intriguing as it is powerful. Joe Kirschling's use of diverse percussion underscores the degree to which the band has grown since it's inception. With the addition of Quinn Scharber on bass, and the start of their second album, they are poised to reach an ever-growing audience.
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