The Manatees - Untitled

Matt Harrold 09/12/2006

Rating: 4/5

Possibly in competition with the Mystery Jets for sheer number every day objects that shouldn't double up as musical instruments, The Manatees are the latest signing to independent record label motivesounds recordings. A label more at home with bands producing something a little less heavy and
normally without those darned vocals found in most music. So they seem to be sticking their necks out and taking a risk here with Manatess and their debut album 'Untitled'. Only with music as good as this there shouldn't really be a risk involved.

Unlike their sea dwelling name's sake they're far from gentle. Instead what's produced is a brooding post apocalyptic sonic landscape wiped clean by someone having finally pushed that big ol' red button. Musically they have as much in common with the doom rock of Neurosis as the prog rock of Pink Floyd. It opens up a world of possibilities where monk like gothic
chanting is overlaid with screams of “We are forgotten” before rifts drudged up from hells inferno gives away to a simple acoustic guitar conjuring up the final showdown at noon somewhere in old Texas. Untitled isn't schizophrenic in it's approach, all five tracks (also untitled) have the same musical undercurrent in the tribal drums and the thick bass lines,
sounding like lead weights are attached to each note. Yet there's more then enough variation within the album to keep a listener hooked till the very end. Songs mutate, grow in a totally organic way so even shifts from drone metal too phased blues guitars doesn't jar and interrupt the ride. Oh and those instruments that shouldn't be musical instruments mentioned earlier? Fire extinguishers, bicycles, plasterboard and coat hangers!

To go through each track on it's own, especially the opening track could easily turn this review into a mini-essay worthy of any university student. Hopefully you get the scope of this prog-drone-metal-doom-anything else in existence except classical strings album, which might just place it under
the heading of 'undiscovered gem of the year'.