The Upshot: Anthemic power pop with a ‘90s alt-rock vibe, simultaneously soulful and cathartic, and one of the year’s best releases so far.
BY FRED MILLS
Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the three guys/one gal of Manager came together as habitués of a Columbus, Ohio, recording studio, where guitarist Jon Chinn was co-owner. The personalities clicked, and two years later their self-titled full-length fully underscores this via a confident, agile musical meshing. Manager (which was mastered by Bob Weston, an obvious Trade Mark Of Quality) is stuffed to the gills with swaggering power chords, four-to-the-floor beats, Chinn’s yearning upper register, and buoyant harmony vocals that consistently add up to “anthemic,” and you’d be hard-pressed to draw up a live setlist for the band that omitted even one of the nine tracks here.
Opener “Off to the Races” is a natural, possessing all the above elements and practically daring the listener not to sing along. The actual song “Manager” provides a midtempo changeup that’s still richly melodic, boasting lithe background guitar spirals and an uncommon rhythmic urgency. And “You Haven’t the Guts” provides still more fretboard complexity, one guitar serving up tremolo’d riffs while the other spits out delightfully arpeggiated leads. I could go on, but you get the point—call it power pop with a ‘90s alt-rock vibe, simultaneously soulful and cathartic. One of the year’s best surprises thus far.
Consumer Note: As you might surmise from the photo here, Manager and Texacobra Records have gone the extra mile with the beautiful translucent orange colored wax, and there’s a thick cardboard tip-on sleeve as well. Dare I say… another TMOQ? The vinyl comes with a download card, so why are you dilly-dallying? You can hear a few tunes at their website or their Bandcamp page if you need any additional nudging…
DOWNLOAD: “Off To The Races,” “Electrical Camp,” “Welcome Wagon”