Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Manzanita Bones - The Rupture : Album Review

Manzanita Bones writes in blurred lines. They are a duo whose sound is by turns ethereally soaring and earthily grounded. They are able to navigate, often within a single song, from moments of clean folk harmony to disorienting noise-rock. It's a sound that is not bound by stylistic rules, and yet maintains a consistency in it's transgression of those rules.

Their new album, The Rupture, is like Bonnie "Prince" Billy meets the Misfits. It's the sort of scratching disintegration that is reminiscent of early Dinosaur Jr. hidden in folk clothing. Although lyrically introspective, they carry a wider philosophical sensibility, and enjoy changing perspectives. They are instrumentally adventurous, commonly on the edge of crashing, but in a controlled way. 

The songs are widely varied, and bear some wide-ranging comparisons. With Western country and folk elements, "Shooting For A Kill" would make great theme music for a Coen brothers film. The spoken-word / pseudo-instrumental "The Rupture" reads like a McCarthy novel. "Caroline" has verses with an open spaciousness one would find in the best of The Black Heart Procession. 

The instrumental interludes in these songs are integral and not asides or filler material. The final minute of "Just a Little Sigh" is perhaps the highlight of the song, heightening the theme to a fury. Their folk acoustic themed "Trying to Stand Up" fluctuates between tongue-in-cheek absurdity and full sincerity. "What You Said" is a scratch-filled blues romp, as trashed and rough as any moment in '80's punk.

All in all, The Ruputure is a raucous adventure; etching a sonic landscape with blind curves and trap doors. And, yes, you have to hear it to have any clue what that means.

You can hear more Manzanita Bones at:


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