8/10 Clinton Staff review, 20 May 2011
This is the bloke who elongated The Silver Mount Zion's set to even more mammoth proportions when I saw them last year with rambling go nowhere stories between songs like a coked up 80's Rod Stewart on a particularly gruesome edition of the Russell Harty show. I'm being overly harsh, of course, I was so tired halfway through their three hour set that even the sight of Rod himself on the stage with a hilarious anecdote about his days in The Faces would have fallen on deaf ears. For this album as solo artists do, he's introduced his middle name into the equation. Its 'Manuel'. Of course, it had to be. Nice to see that he's managed to choose a brief title for this work, unlike those of any of his previous projects including Godspeed You Black Emperor (coming to an enormodrome near you very soon). The opening track is a mantra like chant, interesting if a bit unremarkable. Things get interesting with the second track (I'm dispensing with titles as they are too long to type), it features weird electronics and interesting layered chanted vocals. It sits somewhere between a post-nervous breakdown Panda Bear and Liars' 'Drum's Not Dead' madness. A fascinating ominous listen of mangled electronics and even more mangled vocals. Elsewhere we get quiet piano atmospherics with pained vocals, churning rockathon rifferama, eerie late night soundscapes, The Caretaker like ambience, and on the closer standout we get electronic folk explorations topped by thumping drums and a trademark crescendo of orchestration. Its an incredibly varied collection but at times rather impressive. The best comparison I guess would be Panda Bears evil twin, unafraid of exploring across genres, bold in arrangements and occasionally inspired.
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