Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Early Years / Serena Maneesh @ Madame Jo Jo's, 29 August

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a few months and have a good memory may sense a little déjà vu about this title. Yes I have been here before back in June, reviewing The Early Years at the White Heat club at Madame Jo Jo’s. However, this time is different. This time I am actually reviewing The Early Years, as opposed to indie dullards Amusement Parks on Fire. All is explained in the previous post and comments.

The Early Years aren’t really a cool band. But they’re good. There’s not much in the way of audience interaction, but they’re young and new, so I’m happy to give them the benefit of the doubt. I’m really reluctant to use the sh****ze word, but it does kinda apply to them. It was said that these early 90s bands weren't staring at their shoes - they were looking at their effects pedals. The Early Years look at their effects pedals a lot, but that's excuseable since they use them so well. They basically hit us with waves of layered guitar noise, through which we can discern some lovely melodies, for the duration of their set. There's not much variation in style, but I don't mind because it's working just right. From what I've heard of the new album (out 24 September) so far, there are some lovely quieter moments in the band's repertoire, but this being a noisy club night, they probably wisely chose to keep the volume up. I'll be eagerly watching out for more from Dave Malkinson, Roger Mackin and Phil Raines soon.

Download: The Early Years - So Far Gone
Download: The Early Years - A Little More

In contrast, Serena Maneesh are a very cool band. But I'm not that convinced about exactly how good they are. All the ingredients impress - their style, all sexy posing and swagger, with added rock 'n' roll antics. The musical parts namecheck The Velvet Underground, My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and a host of scuzzy garage rock bands. No looking at shoes for this lot. More like playing the guitar on the ceiling of the venue. They do layered guitar too, but they also do pounding bass to rock the club. However their first few numbers seem to be all pounding bass and not much else, and they take most of their set to bring all the good component parts together to make a cohesive performance. When it eventually works, it's very good. Just a shame it took them so long to get there. I've since checked out their album and found much the same. I think I'm eventually getting it, but it's taking time. Should we have to work this hard with music? I'm not sure, and for now Serena Maneesh may or may not be greater than the sum of their impressive parts.

Download: Serena Maneesh - Drain Cosmetics
Download: Serena Maneesh - Sapphire Eyes High

Check out my gig photos on Flickr.

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