Thursday, October 2, 2014

Manilow:" Cease and Desist"

You have to wonder if this band did not derive the title of their spanking new lp from a letter they might have gotten from Barry. Even adding band to their name in most search engines brings up the "Mandy" singer. It does seem to be a trend in  underground punk rock these days to choose names that thwart Google searches. Punk has always prided it's self on not being the most accessible of genres. With the inner webs now bringing even the most obscure gutter punk to Apples all over suburbia just as easily as some one might find Slipknot. O.k, maybe a few clicks further than Slipknot, but not if you know where to look. Manilow's sound is more accessible than some, as the guitar sounds big and fuzzed out like something that wouldn't sound out of place on a stoner rock album. This might be due in part to the fact Tim Cedar of Part Chimp engineered this album at Dropout Studios in London. But even with the big Marshall Stacks in your face boom of the album, there is still plenty of anarchy in the Uk.

Not unlike the Jaguar commercial that ponders why Hollywood casts the British as villains , due to their accent. The same could be said with punk rock. Almost to the point that many American artists try to emulate the dialect in order to sound punk. SO this just comes naturally to the Brits in Manilow, despite the fact the opening guitar is pretty straight up rock. Vocalist Dean Moston's old school punk sneer,  offsets the fuzzed out guitar tone. The post-man shows up to make it more post-punk with the sinewy tension of the serpentine guitar groove of  "Law Here". The lingering vibrato in Moston's voice on this one carries a similar sense of unease as Jell Biafra's manic ranting. The subtle arrangements don't stick the chorus in  your face too heavily despite the predominant backing vocals.It moves almost like a Fugazi song on cruise control. At over five minutes such indulgences would be odd if these guys leaned a tad closer to being straight up punk.

The bands takes on a higher powered rumble on "Taking Control" that finds the band back in a more punk vein, but earlier punk along the lines of the Mc-5's "Sonic Reducer".Clocking in a t under two minutes the song kicks in the door for wham, bam, thank you mam. They on a steady almost grunged out stoner vibe on " Vitamins". The vocals here stay in the punk sphere of things, leaving "Law Here" as the only song that strays from that and also makes it the strongest song on this ep , because it gives a wider range of dynamics. The more rock moments left to the desert fuzz of the guitar leads, which when branching out into more jammy solo passages give the song odd breathing and an almost psychedelic element.

If you like your post-punk heavy on the punk, or like some rock in your punk rock these guys are loud yet thoughtful in their approach. Fans of Hellacopters, Beastmilk,the Dwarves will all find some common ground here too.

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