Self-titled albums are often interpreted as a statement of purpose but they can also be a declaration of musical identity: a portrait of the artist as a whole at a particular moment in time.
The sophomore full-length album from this NYC-based singer/songwriter falls into the latter category, with its amalgam of acoustic ballads, guitar-fueled power pop, piano-led '70s AM radio-inspired tunes, synth pop and straight up rock and roll. An eclectic mix to be sure but not a surprising one considering the source.
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Thoughts on each of the songs from HM:
The oldest song of the bunch, it dates back to La Ruta (mid-‘90s) and was originally in Spanish but it has never been performed in any way, shape or form and is finally seeing the light of day on this album.
A song about regret with a clear McCartney influence.
“Rotten Saints (piano ballad no.5)”
Damned if you, damned if you don’t. But sometimes giving too much of yourself is a bad idea.
A little instrumental that is supposed to wrap up a four song suite a la 'Abbey Road', in this case opening the album as opposed closing it.
“On and On and On and…”
A straight up rocker that had been around, without lyrics, for quite a while.
“Battles at Sea”
Single bar patrons trying to land their respective hookup as last call looms, told via nautical metaphors. Originally recorded for the 'Beautiful Insults and Compromises' album but left off at the last minute. Works better here, anyway.
I’d like to think it sounds like a slice of 1972. It’s meant to evoke the feeling of Saturday afternoons when I was a little kid here in NYC. Hence the title.
"Your Impending Demise"
Inspired by someone from my past, it’s short although definitely not sweet and says all I want to say about that person’s dark days.
Based on a friend of a friend whose life trauma had rendered her incapable of functioning in the real world. Had different lyrics, including the entire bridge, but in this version it’s my favorite thing on the record.
“Love and Bruises (barely breathing)”
Originally a loud, straight ahead rocker that eventually, somehow, became a pseudo country ballad. Hmm...
J Strofer says it’s my Johnny Cash song. I’ll certainly take that as a compliment. Along with "Magdalena", it's the only song from this batch to have been performed live prior to the album's release. In this case, once, years ago with The Henry Mena Ego Trip at the dearly departed Southpaw in Brooklyn. (There’s a recording of that version plus a studio version recorded at Avatar Studios; both of which have yet to see the light of day.)
“Fromage de Pseudo Quatre TItres”
The bad French roughly translates as “cheesy pseudo four track tune”. Didn’t know what to do with this one so it ended up here.
“Face the Sun”
Wasn’t really working out with a full band arrangement but stripped of its electric guitars, bass and drums it suddenly came alive, acoustically, warts and all.
“Son of Krypton”
Was supposed to have lyrics but I lost interest in writing any so it lives on as a full-fledged instrumental. Despite being a tribute to Stewart Copeland’s Klark Kent alter ego—my second one!—it actually comes across as Police/B-52s hybrid. Also left off 'Beautiful Insults and Compromises' at the last minute.
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released November 17, 2015
Written, Arranged, Performed, Recorded and Produced by HM
Recorded and mixed at One Seventeen, Brooklyn, NY
Additional recording and mixing at Six By Sea, New York, NY
Additional engineering by J Strofer at 404 Clinton, Brooklyn, NY
Thanks to FJ Bido, Alex Guerra, Carlos Guzman, Matt Kaplan, J Strofer for their assistance and support.
PLAY IT LOUD!
[c]+[p] 2015 OmniVox Records. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication and reproduction is prohibited.
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