It’s easy to paint Serena-Maneesh as yet another page in the
book of today’s neo-shoegazer acolytes. But while the Oslo collective certainly indulges in the reverb-drenched
guitar gauze and cooing vocals that are the hallmark of the genre, they’re
hardly My Bloody Valentine or Spacemen 3 clones.
On its second album No.
2: Abyss in B Minor, the band’s use of burbling (but not quite danceable) rhythms,
electronic spikes and slashes and tense, knotty melodies mark it as a disciple
of such dreampop envelope pushers as Curve and Medicine – not bad influences to
cultivate. From the dreamy soundscape of “Ayisha Abyss” and the bittersweet
groove of “Blow Yr Brains in the Morning Rain” to the fractured pop of
“Reprobate!” and the kitchen sink blend of “Honeyjinx,” S-M paint with
different colors while still staying on the canvas. The ability to extract a
variety of feels, sounds and textures out of a consistent sonic palette marks a
great band, and Serena-Maneesh displays that tattoo with grace and beauty.
Standout Tracks: “Honeyjinx,”
“Blow Yr Brains in the Morning Rain” MICHAEL TOLAND