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 their latest album Let Go Or Be Dragged 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 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 – 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 production values on the LP are excellent by any standards, with each of the many musical layers shining through at all the right times, and the more you listen to the album the more you enjoy what’s going on underneath. Live the band fuse electronica influence with reggae, and deliver the cure in the form of strong rock, stellar bass playing and well written tunes. Talent and tenacity abound, and with NME, BBC Introducing and Music Week all on board, 2013 could be their year.