First published by greenmanmusic.biz
I have written before on how difficult it is to put simple labels onto some bands. They just defy categorisation, either through being totally unique and original through isolation from other music or by absorbing so many diverse influences into their music that they develop a schizophrenic sound, which can either be a god awful mess or a big bag of pic ‘n’ mix delight.
The Manic Shine are one of the latter, a band that chuck the kitchen sink at what they do, and with great success. Taking a heavy rock base as the sensible foundation for this musical house of delights, big riffs, big drums, big bass lines and big vocals (very Biffy Clyro in their pomp) they then build layer upon layer of other components onto this structure. For a seriously rocking band they have a real fondness for effects and synths, almost taking them to proggy or techno levels of use. But all the while there is the solid, driving rhythm underpinning the fancy stuff. But, it is the gadgety stuff that does really make this band stand out, they imbibe each song with its own identity and a unique sound. And whilst the use of wizardry is pretty comprehensive, it all blends in with the more traditional sounds of bass, drums and guitars.
It is obvious from first listen of Let Go Or Be Dragged, their second album, that each band member is a Jedi Knight of their chosen instrument. The technical playing abilities displayed are first class, with obvious painstaking detail applied to the structure, sound and feel of each passage of music. But what often happens with overtly technical music is it loses any heart and soul within each song, the guitar swagger becomes paramount to the musicians. Thankfully the band have ensured that melody is still king, hooks are rife within both the vocals and the music and each song is well structured, tighter than a snare drum and full of thoughtful lyrical content. It is so rare to find a band with such technical and artistic chops in equal measure.
Having seen them live, I know they put as much care and effort into their live show, performing with the same intense level in front of 25 people on the toilet circuit as they would in front of 25,000 at the O2. That professional pride is evidenced all over the ten polished and buffed yet organic sounding songs on this album, creating a very interesting and unique rock album that ebbs and flows with emotion, pathos and out and out ass-kicking. You really must treat your ears to it.
Let Go Or Be Dragged is released on 1st April through Animal Farm Records