Released 26th March 2012 on The Animal Farm
Reviewed by Steve Boniface
Rock band The Manic Shine claim to have discovered an illness called ‘Sickotrashmusicitis’. Described as the ‘chronic feeling of lethargy and nausea when listening to music on mainstream radio’, it seems to have only one cure. No prizes for guessing what that might be.
It’s a fun quote that does an excellent job of signalling their intentions early – they are looking to bring something different to the table, a true alternative to popular culture. The question is whether The Manic Shine can deliver on that promise.
In a sense they certainly do. Many of the tracks on album Blindsider couldn’t be further from the playlist material of most mainstream and commercial radio stations, and they’re all the better for it even if they won’t bust any blocks.
The production values on this LP are excellent by any standards, with each of the many musical layers shining through at all the right times. This is technically proficient rock as played by skilled musicians, and the lengthy tracks often include musical interludes which arguably outshine the vocal led sections.
The sound of the band is heavily driven by the rhythm section, with the drums and excellent bass guitar parts weave in and out of one another with great skill. The guitar and vocals are good too, but the more you listen to the album the more you enjoy what’s going on underneath. As a result, this album isn’t one that makes a major initial impact. Give it a few listens though, and it will reward you.
Track highlights include My Woman (the recent single), as well as The Poet and the Lullabye, which has a marked electronica influence. The reggae infused, slower Til Your Pockets Glow is also a decent change of pace – reminiscent of Incubus in their heyday and arguably the most radio friendly of the tracks.
Overall, this is a strong rock LP with a lot to offer if given the chance. I’d be very interested to hear the next release, and see how the sound develops over time. In the meantime though, this album is worth your time – especially if you’re a fan of well written rock and/or good bass guitar players.
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