The Carter Manoeuvre - Demo

Liam McGrady 27/07/2006

Rating: 4/5

Drums like a boulder rolling down some household stairs. A siren wailing. So begins 'Blue Sky Black Death', the first track on this impressive demo from 4 piece The Carter Manoeuvre. Jazzy without disappearing up its own arse into muso territory and Emo tinged without being a big pile of overought, whiny shit, this opening salvo from the Reading/Leamington Spa group is everything most music by young bands isn't: accomplished and played with conviction and passion.

Influences and sound similarities flash through the mind with every furiously thrashed riff: the operatic, octave shifting Muse; Idlewild-esque, evocative lyrical talent on 'Manuka Honey' (“love is an open wound, so easily infected, a breeding ground for dream and doubt/Hope is a fake tattoo, a bruise that's always aching”); and a hint of the shifty, moody Mars Volta.

In amongst this melting pot of Post/Prog-Rock and anthemic Indie come the pure, yet angst ridden vocals of front man James, riding majestically on the waves of watery chorus guitars. At times his voice is as mysterious and brooding as a lone black cloud on a bright, clear day, at others it's bitter and sniping and cynical; but always forcing the listener to, you know, listen.

Final track on the demo, 'Poison The Lonely' is an amalgam of all that The Carter Manoeuvre are about. Poppy, ping ponging, echoing guitar notes bounce backward and forward, finally breaking into big blocks of beautiful Post-Something noise. Stretching over seven minutes with biting lyrics like, “we won't disagree with your ethical plans; to poison the lonely”, all the time insistent, scattershot drumming driving the song ever forward, it's actually not nearly long enough. This is the kind of music you could live with for days; forever finding a new favourite melody or riff.