Let Go Or Be Dragged
added: 17 Jan 2014
// release date: 27 Jan 2014 // label: Animal Farm
reviewer: Nigel Cartner
Landing with ruthless force in January 2014 are the enigmatic, ‘The Manic Shine’ and their second album, ‘Let Go or Be Dragged’, an album that carries such originality that the listener can only be left captivated and intrigued by what direction is going to be taken next as each second passes on every song. The unique blend of piercing metal guitars, fine melodic hooks and raucous synth vibes form a very powerful hard rock album, making the self description of “genre hopping metal edged modern progressive rock” sound just about right.
Judging from the quality of the production you’d be forgiven for thinking that the album had undergone much surgery to get it sounding so finely tuned. Quite the opposite in fact as the album was impressively recorded live, highlighting the burgeoning talent these four guys possess. There’s such a rarity about this band, not only in their style but also in their background. Despite them being a London-based quartet, ‘The Manic Shine’ are made up of lead singer Ozzie Rodgers, who was born in London but brought up in Dubai by his Syrian mother and English father; brothers Orren and Tamir Karp, who were born at the foot of Israel’s Golan Heights; and bassist James Hutchinson, who is the only UK born band member of this multi-cultural concoction.
Opening with ‘Tin Crown Kings’, then ‘(S)WORDS’, these two anthemic onslaughts twist and turn with synthetic layers and a hard punching rock edginess that sets the tone for the albums fundamental core, namely an unpredictable charge of progressive razor sharp rock. ‘Avarice’ feels funkier in the rhythm and more atmospheric than the quick tempoed opening tracks, and even the vocals of lead singer, Ozzie Rodgers, seem to be distorted to fit in with this change of mood. ‘Scattershot’ carries on the steadier pace with a lot of funky synth layers added on top of the silky grooves and evocative vocals. ‘Use Your Horizon’ is forthright and honest, a bouncy foot stomping crowd pleaser that still carries the weight of a thundering rhythm section with intricate and mesmeric guitar riffs. ‘Libra’ is the softest and most emotive song on the album, a type of ballad that starts by tugging at the heart strings, leaving us in complete puzzlement as to how this band can go from the hard hitting rock frenzy to the delicate harmonious sweep that invokes so much thought. Granted it does progress from there into a weightier rock song, but it’s still a delicious cocktail in genre vaulting that these four guys master so well. ‘Weightless’ is the single that was launched on the 13th January. Starting with a tribal like drum beat that sounds like its rumbling through the jungle, and eventually sparking into a barrage of screeching guitar riffs, the track carries a darker tone, where even Rodgers adds an ethereal tone to the delivery of the vocal. ‘Siren’ concludes proceedings and stays true to the sound of the album for the main body before we’re treated to a Ted Nugent-esque guitar solo to round off the song and the album.
This adventurous and bold approach to successfully cross breed genres will have fascinated audiences up and down the country. Taking its roots from several preceding flairs and styles, this could potentially breed fire into a fresh player in a future musical movement. By blending American grunge, staccato sharp metal guitar hooks and edgy solos, feisty prog rhythms, and melodious hard rock together, this is something that for the moment is known as ‘Manic Shine’, and given its infancy, the audience can either ‘Let Go Or Be Dragged’ into this brave new world.
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