Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Manges- Florida EP

2015 hasn't been void of The Manges. Which is a good thing because I'd be a very blue Resident Riff Randell if it were otherwise. I was all smiles to see the "Acid Beaters" split come to it's full potential and finally get pressed to vinyl, then everything in my little universe beamed with joy to see them join forces with Cj Ramone to make a gem of a 7"... but the story of all they could accomplish this year isn't over yet. In order for the pulse of punk rock to remain strong, the truest of hearts need to be present and lucky for us, Manuel, Mass, Andrea, and Mayo get that. To say my anticipation has been growing since they wrapped recording in the Summer would be a pretty giant understatement. Ever since getting a preview of the songs in Andrea's living room because I'm a major brat(it's true!), then seeing some of them get played live in October, it pushed that through the atmosphere and I've had them in my head ever since. Take notice because a beautiful day has arrived, punk rockers. Our heroes from Las Pezia are back with a brand new release called "Florida EP"!

It's always wise to stay the course with a good thing, and that's why the guys returned to Brescia,Italy during August to record once again at T.U.P. Studio. I make no secret of my admiration for Brown Barcella who in a modern world, keeps things at a fundamental level of beauty. Staying in tradition for The Manges to evolve in respect to their sound each time they record, changes were made and he effortlessly moved with them. Once that part was handled, the songs went over to The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, CO and WOW. Andrew Berlin(mixing) and Jason Livermore(mastering) turned the already lovely product into a finished masterpiece. I have been falling all over myself since the first time I heard this EP for how dynamic yet completely refined it sounds. Best sound quality for the year that I've heard, hands down. The cover is an effort that comes from within the band and was designed by Andrea. A very America in  the 80's picture of Ronald Reagan joined by Mickey Mouse and some lovely people is spot on aligned to the title and Manges style too. Mass did the layout! Today marks the digital release of the songs which can be purchased on iTunes or bandcamp where they are streaming in full. You can also find them on Spotify so do yourself a favor and go press play on the method of your choice if you've not done so yet! For those of you like myself who worship at the church of vinyl and can only be held over with MP3s for so long, do not fret!! The LP that comes with a CD as well can be ordered through my favorite American source for quality releases, Eccentric Pop Records and if you are overseas, the fine people of Striped Music have you covered!! This first pressing is a super limited run of 500 copies on blue wax. 300 are for  America, and 200 are for Europe so don't sleep on it and be stuck waiting for the second! Eccentric Pop has also printed a VERY SMALL run of 40 posters featuring an alternate cover. These high quality, gorgeous prints will be given out at random and only people who pre-order(closing on January 10th) have a chance to get them. Everything will start rolling with shipping by mid January.

When you hear Mass boom out a "1-2-3-4!", it's on, and something wonderful is about to take place. All levels are louder compared to "All Is Well". This is especially noted with the distortion but even still, the band is still offering something fresh in their delivery. Shifting gears like they always do, but still holding true to their identity and this is essential to our beloved genre's survival! Case and point. The average listener will stunt their experience of what the Ramones truly did as a whole to just the limits of their early material, but in that mistake there's a magnitude of brilliance from each move they made up until the end that's being missed. The Manges are one of the very few longstanding punk rock bands who actually give honor to this philosophy that things should always grow by means of their evolution and I think it is beautiful. "Guinea Pig" is one minute and thirty two seconds of playful fun. It shows you what this band is all about with very little in the lyrics like a song from 70's but carries such a fullness from each part of the machine that is them. I love the little break towards the end that kicks Manuel's skill as such a badass drummer out to the front and then the ending is very Durango 95. That puts little hearts in my eyes but there's no time to dwell because the gem called "Cartoon Democracy"is next. Holy shit I was freaking out over how masterfully the studios brought Andrea's voice through the first time I heard this one. A true vocalist loses no steam as the years go by and he is proof of that. This song is one that belongs to anyone lyrically with the stresses of day to day life and the simplicity of what we all really want in the end. There's a fantastic video they made for it too which very much is a love letter to fans everywhere(click here to see it)! My number one pick for the EP comes on to close this side. "Body Bags 2" is one in a million against every single song I've ever heard for a variety of reasons starting with the lyrics that are a poetic display of honesty. I love the line about Chuck Cunningham syndrome. I think we all wish for that at one point or another in our lives. Then there's the arrangement that is just pristine to me from the way Andrea's vocals carry the melody all the way through, the bridge, the keyboards, and then the solo that perfectly shines. Absolute gem! Side B comes on tough in sound and "H.E.A.D" has to be one of the coolest expressions of devotion for a band that I've ever heard. There's so many great references of tribute in the verses with a good sense of humor about trying to reach them for a t-shirt and the seemingly endless wait for a response. "Number One Hit" is very lighthearted, super tongue in cheek. Simply a well arranged, catchy song about selling out and the ladies of the Crimson Vipers join in at the end for some gang vocals. The last track of the six, "Space Chimp Apollo" is a very close second for being my favorite! Sci-fi themes are always welcome. The story in this song bases around the bizarre firsthand experience of a chimp sent to space who travels out so far in time that he gains infinite powers and knowledge makes it such a strong closer. 

Only six songs from a band I love so much seems like it could be such a tease but I can say with total confidence that I think The Manges accomplished something very special here. With only six songs, they were able to make the same mark as any band who recorded a full length this year did and more as far as I'm concerned. Depending on your geographical location, click on the links I added to Eccentric Pop or Striped's names above and place your order before it's out of stock which I have the feeling will happen pretty quickly. 2015 has passed and as I look to 2016, I still believe in hope for punk rock's survival because of people The Manges. I always will as long as they're around.

The Manges are...
Mass- Bass
Manuel- Drums
Andrea- Vocals/Guitar
Mayo- Guitar 

with synth by Alessio Lonati and backing vocals on "Number One Hit" by Crimson Vipers Roller Derby Bergamo

All songs written by The Manges(A. Caredda S.I.A.E. 2015)

Side A
1. "Guinea Pig"
2. "Cartoon Democracy"
3. "Body Bags 2"
Side B
4. "H.E.A.D."
5. "Number One Hit"
6. "Space Chimp Apollo"

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