Music Review – EP

Album: EP
Artist: Ménage

Ménage has achieved a great deal of success this year, having won Best Rock Song of the Year at the 2014 International Portuguese Music Awards. This is the second mini-EP in a series of four mini-EPs that the band will be releasing this year. Compared to bands like Arcade Fire and Mother Mother, Ménage is an alternative rock band that will have you hooked within seconds.

The three Ferreira siblings, Gabriel, Basilio, and Bella, were introduced to music at an early age while travelling between Toronto, Ontario and a small Portuguese village where much of their family still lived. Gabriel and Basilio performed together for several years, playing alongside bands like Stone Temple Pilots, My Chemical Romance, and Billy Talent. Meanwhile, Bella toured Europe as a solo artist and hosted MTV Portugal. Two of Bella’s recorded songs became unexpected radio successes. The three met up in Los Angeles, where they decided to write music together for the first time, and Ménage was born.

The influence of traditional Portuguese music can be heard almost immediately in their songs. It was this influence that made me fall in love with Ménage’s sound instantaneously. As a fan of alternative rock, I was blown away by Ménage’s meaningful and thoughtful lyrics, which is reminiscent of the rock ballads of old.

The first song on the album left me breathless. The beginning of “Our Time is Now” is subtle with the soft guitar that resonates with the families musical heritage and influences. As the song picks up into a loud, rock-infused melody, you’ll find your soul melting with the powerful vocals and emotional lyrics. The addition of the softer female vocals and lighter tempo that is tossed into the song heightens the emotional power that drives this song. What really caught my attention was that the song ends with Bella singing what sounds like a round, something that many of us sang in elementary school music class. It was such unusual music device to hear in a rock song that I found myself stopping everything that I was doing, and my heart and imagination were swept away by Bella’s alluring voice.

“To The End” is the second song on the album. The combination of female and male vocals lends a dimension to this song that transcends many other songs of this genre. The strong rock sound is enhanced by the chanting in the chorus, and I find that this song is infused with powerful emotions and determination that would bolster anyone’s spirit.

“Promises II” is a sweet song with a gritty rock twist. Like the other songs on the album, this song has emotion pouring from it with every drum hit, guitar strum, and breath between words. The video that accompanies the song shows the band singing the song, and the level of passion that they put into their music is astounding.

The final song on the album is appropriately named “Love Song”. The sound is serene and mournful with the vocals being the main sound of the song. The male vocals sing a love story that is easily recognizable. What makes this song stand out is the injection of female vocals that carry the story along during the chorus.

I personally loved this album, which is available on iTunes. As a rock fan, and a music fan in general, I found that the traditional sound combined with the well-known alternative rock sound created music that has no equal. I will definitely be checking out Ménage’s first EP in this series, and I will be eagerly awaiting the final two.

Samantha Stevens is an aspiring writer who loves combining her love for literature with photography, painting, music, and all creative pursuits.