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Blindsided by the Light

May 11, 2012

About a month ago I tweeted, #NoOneRocksLikeTheManicShine.

A month later I’ll quite happily stand by my hashtag. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I’d not only stand by it, I’d put my arm around it and pose for a photo. And then take it for a drink.

Blindsider is the first full LP release from London-based quartet, The Manic Shine and, I have to say, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Blindsider is a musical voyage, full of twists, turns and diversions which, just as you think you’re getting used to the scenery, changes tack and smacks you in the face with another stunning aural vista. It disorientates in the same way as a ride like ‘Air’ at Alton Towers does; breathtakingly effortless and guaranteed to leave you grinning from ear-to-ear.

Released in February this year and available via iTunes and through the band’s website, this is as polished a début rock album as I’ve heard in a long, long time. Hardly surprising though when you read their biography and discover that they are all music graduates of one description or other. What is more relevant though is the diverse geography that not only defines their collective heritage, but also informs and influences their unique sound. Pedigree may be sought after, but comes at the cost of genetic instability caused by inbreeding. Mongrels have none of these problems and bags more charm. The Manic Shine are, in the best possible way, mongrels. With a combined ancestry from England, Scotland, Israel, Syria, Italy and Hungary, the resulting sound is as finely balanced, heartily-spiced and delicious as any Michelin Starred chef would hope to achieve.

I could harp on about Lydian and Phrygian modes and wax lyrical about sublimating between 8bar and 7bar time signatures and sound like a totally pompous arse. The fact is, I hear something gorgeous and new each time I listen and that, for me is what discovering new music is all about. If you’d asked me a week ago what my favourite track was I’d have give you a totally different answer to today. The Escape holds the current spot, quirky and syncopated verses with a driving anthemic chorus, but tomorrow it might just as easily be any of the other 11 beautifully produced tracks. Honest Jim’s Bookies Ltd has Pretend at 4-6 fav. If you don’t hear The Escape’s hooky outro played on the BBC or C4 over the next twelve months, I’ll eat Ozzie’s hat.

In essence, Blindsider is the compendium you got for Christmas as a kid. Not made of plastic, but crafted from wood or bone. The type you opened in awe, not quite believing that you were being trusted with something so obviously precious. Yes, it could be played with alone, but you simply couldn’t wait to show it off to your friends. And you knew that, each time you opened the box, you were guaranteed to discover something magical, fresh and wonderful.



From → devilsaardvark, Music

One Comment
  1. and guaranteed punch ups between the englishman and scotsman, syrian and israeli and, with them accusing each other of flying the flag in the wrong direction italian and hungarian.

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