With the aggressive contagion of Fuckshovel, the sonic seduction of PiL, and the raw energy and antagonism of UK Subs, UK punks Manilow make a striking and irresistible entrance with debut EP Cease and Desist. Consisting of four varied and ridiculously compelling songs, the release is a spark lying in wait to ignite the passions of all punks past and presence, as well as the start of a potent and greedily devoured presence for the band.
Tagged as post punk but as much punk, alternative, and noise rock as that equally rich spice, Manilow springs from South London and has seemingly already brewed up a strong buzz around themselves in the year since forming. Now making a fuller and wider announcement of their presence, sound, and intent, the trio of vocalist/guitarist Dean Moston, drummer Gary Cardno, and bassist Paul Chamberlain stir up a nostalgic and distinctly fresh and antagonistic storm with the excellent Cease and Desist EP. Co-produced by Part Chimp’s Tim Cedar and mastered by former Quireboy Guy Bailey, the EP twists and stomps with a creative relish and down to earth attitude which seizes the imagination whilst inflaming old school ears and fresh adrenaline fuelled bodies.
Cease and Desist opens with Missing, an instantly caustic blaze with bluesy riffs and grooves flirting with throaty bass bait and heavily jabbing beats. Unpolished and excitingly abrasive, the track strides with a seventies breath recalling the likes of Angelic Upstarts and Ruts, and a garage punk scuzziness with whispers of the Stooges. It is an instantly and increasingly addictive encounter, easy to add limbs and voice to whilst it roars and provokes.
The following Law Here ventures into the post punk side of the band. From a potent and firmly coaxing cold bassline, guitars respectfully flare up and drizzle psych kissed sonic designs over ears and thoughts. That PiL reference is a strong whiff here with the breeze of keys provided by Chamberlain tempering and seducing that appealing scent. Perpetually colourful in its elegant and reserved but caustically toned flight, the song swirls and growls like something related to early The Horrors and The Damned whilst transfixing ears with constant resourcefulness and magnetism.
Things kick up another gear with the final pair of tracks. Firstly there is the brawling tenacity and charm of Control Issue. From its first second, riffs snarl and badger the senses whilst the beats of Cardno rap with fresh menace. Fuelled by the aggressive tones of Moston, the song seems to grow in attitude and contempt but invites further listener participation with its terrace like bred chorus and sonic invention. It is a rip-roaring treat of a provocation matched by the closing might of Vitamins. A resonating throb of bass announces its intimidating appearance, a predatory lure swiftly wrapped in a sonic acidity from Moston’s guitar. From within the impending assault a rhythmic hypnotism emerges, Cardno soon gripping feet and hunger with a Wire like temptation. It is not too long either before compelling and contagious hooks leap at ears and passions, their simple but irrepressible enticement the lead into a vocally raw chorus. With spicy blues hues brought through the melodic and scorching endeavour of the guitar to flirt with the uncompromising hook driven spine of the song, the closer is a riveting and blissfully satisfying end to an excellent debut.
Punk in all its shades and corners is going through a thrilling adventure right now, especially in the UK, and adding another fresh and delicious string to its bow is Manilow.
The Cease and Desist EP is available from October 10th @ http://manilow.bandcamp.com
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