London four-piece, The Manic Shine is a rock band unlike any other that we encountered at this year’s Great Escape Festival. We saw them play at the ridiculously tiny Fishbowl Brighton during The Animal Farm showcase. With a vast sound that ties together progressive alt / rock sensibility with noise synth (a sound which they have called “metamorphic rock”) their songs involve incredible solos, great tempo changes and a throbbing groove – to deliver a concentrated dose of intoxicating and addictive art rock .
There were low and painful groans of bass guitar from Hutch Hutchison – and there were ruffles of powdery riffing from Ozzie and Orren – working together on guitars. But it was the “Tin Crown Kings…” chorus – so gently vocalised – against the plentiful bluster of drums from Tamir Karp – that really made this song stand out. Like many ‘Manic Shine’ numbers this was funky and groovy at times – but was also bitter, sharp and heroic.
Then progressive-metal sounding ‘Leatherface’ had a whole jungle full of bustling percussion sounds, with plenty of squelching guitars chatter boxing to each other. The elastic bass guitar frolicked freely on this number, as vocalist Ozzie Rodgers annunciated the lyrics with rhythmic precision. Hefty yawning grimaces of guitar added bumptious dimensions to the line: “You can make believe if you want…” And then the song broke down into a gentle meandering. It found a heart of pastoral and verdant luxury. This was an immensely satisfying creation. Lofty in ambition.
‘Use Your Horizon’ had a lot of powerful riffs. You know, the kind that deliver the familiar low rumble that will send a shiver down your spine and put a wide smile upon our gleaming gnashers. The rhythm was loose hipped and complex. And it felt closer to a boogie bounce than to metal. But the riff restored our faith. Yes, this was a true rock song. It had that colossal weighty feel to it. We could feel our hearts tingling and our sap rising.
‘Weightless’ started with a gentle tap of the skins, and the odd chortle of guitar. Then the whole thing became emblazoned in a searing light of powerful imagery. This was the song that most reminded us of Dream Theater. It had the same bold ambition and that similar unrestrained technicality.
The voice (in this case anyway) reminded us of Serj Tankian. Theatrical, passionate, cynical … and even histrionic . The flumes of guitar that were foamed out by Orren Karp – against those blossoming vocals – became the very core of this magnificent song.
This was a slick, adventurous and totally stoned performance. And we were very glad that we saw these lads in the sticky and cramped atmosphere of the Fish Bowl.
Because, this time next year, they will be up on the main stage! You had better grab them now, while you can…
– © Neil Mach May 2013 –
The Manic Shine UK Tour Dates
May 24 The Shed Leicester
May 25 4 Winds Festival Port Talbot
May 30 Hole In The Wall Colchester
Jun 01 Camden Rocks London,
Jun 07 The Star w/ Sons Of Icarus Guildford
Jun 08 The Watershed Milton Keynes
Jun 16 Hooteananny Inverness
Jun 17 Cafe Drummond Aberdeen
Jun 19 Bannermans Edinburgh
Jun 20 Pivo Pivo Glasgow
Jun 21 The Windy Ha Saltcoats
Jun 22 The Eildon Centre Coldstream
Jul 27 Scruffy Murphys Birmingham
Aug 03 Vicfest 2013 Norwich,
Aug 25 Northwich Festival Cheshire
Aug 30 Worcester Music Festival Worcester
Oct 04 Central Bar Gateshead
Oct 12 The Brunswick Gloucester
Nov 02 The White Horse High Wycombe