Album Review: MNNQNS – Body Negativity

The Breakdown

Hardly original, but reasonably enjoyable.

Hailing from Rouen, France, post-punk quartet MNNQNS are following up their critically acclaimed debut EP ‘Advertisement’ with their first full-length album, ‘Body Negativity’. The band claim to “hate rock ‘n’ roll” and be influenced by artists as wide-ranging as Deerhunter, Death Grips, and the Beach Boys, along with various bands on the Cardiff music scene that frontman Adrian D’Epinay claims he saw whilst studying in the city.

The album opens with 15 seconds of tape loops that recall ‘Revolver’-era Beatles. The first six/seven seconds of opening song ‘Not What You Thought You Knew’ sound promisingly like Melt Banana before the song reveals itself to be something more akin to the work of mid-00s landfill bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Fratellis. ‘She’s Waiting for the Day’ is in a similar lineage, but has a chorus that is undeniably catchy and infectious.

‘Double Visions’ and ‘Limits of Town’ sound quite synthey and new wavey, along the lines of the new Ceremony album. ‘Different Sides of Truth’ recalls Squeeze, before the intriguingly titled ‘Urinals’ flirts with noise punk in a sim ilar way to the recent single by The 1975. Things start getting landfill-ish again on ‘Desperation Moon’.

The post-punk rhythms of ‘Drinking From the Pond’ are enjoyable enough, though the campness of D’Epinay’s vocals towards the end of the chorus is a bit contrived sounding. The song closes with some intriguing sounding tape loops. ‘Fall Down’ sounds sort of like Joy Division being covered by the Magic Numbers.

The rhythm guitar on ‘Stagnant Pools’ assume a slightly dream pop-esque quality, in contrast to the lead guitar which gets relatively noisy midway through. The latter element also provides a welcome counterpoint to the singalong chorus on album closer ‘Wire (Down to the)’.

Whilst ‘Body Negativity’ doesn’t show MNNQNS’ sound to be as scene-anomalous or hard-to-pigeonhole as the band seem to think it is judging from the album’s accompanying press release, most of the songs on the album’s second side are enjoyable enough in their own right. The lead guitar is well-deployed and achieves moderate amounts of aggression in places. Although the ironic tone of D’Epinay’s vocals can grate from time to time, the band can clearly craft a memorable chorus.

The album isn’t reinventing the wheel, but MNNQNS show themselves to be capable of making post-punk songs that are more immediately enjoyable than many of those from their approximate contemporaries like Ought and Sauna Youth. As a debut album, this shows potential for the band to improve as long as they place their lead vocals lower down in the mix and make their noisy guitar parts more frequent and more prominent.

MNNQNS will tour the UK next month to support the October 11th release of ‘Body Negativity’. Dates are as follows. October 17th – Thousand Island, London. October 18th – Latest Music Bar, Brighton. October 19th – Muthers Studio, Birmingham. October 20th – Yes Basement, Manchester.

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