More vocal hooks than a piece of velcro
Sometimes I curse the fact I was born in the United Kingdom. When I see that Manzana's 2007 debut album, 'Nothing As Whole As A Broken Heart', entering the Finnish charts at number 24 I wonder if it's worth packing my suitcase and moving over there. When the country has such, relatively unknown, acts hitting their mainstream it always makes me think of our own music scene and the uncreative, manufactured and talent show cast offs it spews out with frightening regularity. Manzana's follow up album, 'Babies Of Revolution' will no doubt see them climb further up the Finnish hit parade but go unnoticed in Great Britain. This would be a shame because this release is a solid piece of pop rock infused with a dash of nu-metal and a pinch of post grunge.
I'm guessing that the phrase nu-metal has some or even most of you clicking on the back button already but don't fear it only has a flavour of nu-metal. This flavour is contained within the guitar ideas which sees the axes down tuned to sound extra heavy in an effort to add a little more substance to their basic chord style riffs. For the most part this tactic works well and 'End Of The World' and 'Fake' aren't a million sonic miles away from Spineshank's 'The Height Of Callousness'. But there's more to this album than by-the-numbers guitar work. The pops, fizz, wobbly samples and electronic sounds add to the overall feel but it's the quality of the songs themselves that shine through any pre-conceived ideas.
There are more hooks in these choruses than on a piece of Velcro but these would be nothing without one certain aspect. Manzana's ace up their sleeve is vocalist, Piritta Lumous. She's a versatile performer and delivers a tour-de-force on this album. Her melodies, use of FX and harmonies all add up to an impressive and varied vocal display. She peaks on the wonderfully mellow 'Nothing As Whole As A Broken Heart' where she gives a performance that takes me back to Skunk Anansie at their best. Because the music is fairly simple the reliance on melody is heavily increased and this is where the band excel.
Although 'Babies Of Revolution' is about as gothic as my Gran's old knickers there could be enough Paradise Lost style keyboards, big choruses and female vocals to get the goth-lite fans interested. But let's face it, this is a heavy rock album that has risen from the ashes of nu-metal but has managed to cast off that genre's most annoying traits. Most of the songs are mid-tempo and over reliant on the catchy chorus as well as the talent of Piritta, but this isn't a bad thing, play to your strengths that's what I always say. Having said that there are some great tunes to be had, 'Wash My Sins Away' and 'Near Death Experience' are both stand out tracks, and it's difficult to pick out any real disappointments. 'Babies Of Revolution' is good piece of work but a little more adventure in the guitar work would have made this album a much more entertaining listen. But for what it is you'll be hard pressed not to like it.