MANIC DEPRESSIVES / 0:30 SECOND FLASH: Split: 12” 45

…I was lucky enough ((or on the ball enough, depending on how much you do or don’t factor blind chance into these types of things)) to mail order some of the classic New Orleans punk records back in the day ((‘81-’82)), and, with the hindsight that comes with reissues and liner notes and thinking and shit, it’s somewhat apparent in retrospect that, of the New Orleans bands with which i was familiar back in the day ((Manic Depressives, Red Rockers, Shell Shock)), it was the least heralded of the three—the Manic Depressives—who were seemingly most representative of what a reasonably interested outsider might term a “New Orleans sound.” Starting with the Normals and Skinnies, and continuing through the Manic Depressives and follow-up project 0:30 Second Flash, I’m seein’ the tenor of the times as being a sort of sinuous, speedy, melodic, uptempo affair—riding more on fleet basswork and quick harmonies than trying to methodically saw the listener in half via guitar ((a la Shell Shock)), or some kinda junior Clash clarion call to arms ((a la the Red Rockers)). As to how all this historical conjecture affects you, Al Franken, i guess it probably doesn’t, but some people like to know what ingredients are in their food, ya know? I guess the real question at hand is how the Manic Depressives lifetime output—a three-song single and two compilation tracks—has held up thirty-x years after the fact. The answer, punctuated by a tinny but heartfelt “Huzzah!”—is “surprisingly well.” I never thought the 1980 EP was a legit BLOCKBUSTER or anything, but i dug it—and, at odd times throughout the last thirty years, i’ve been liable to erupt into a non-sequitur chorus from any of the record’s three songs, so there’s clearly significant sticktuitiveness at play here. I actually think “Going out with the In-Crowd” is BETTER now than it was thirty years ago, just because they printed the original hand-scrawled lyrics on the back cover, and they’re darn fine words. IT’S ANTHEMY, MAN, IT’S ANTHEMY!!! The two comp tracks—”Not Worth the Time” and “Think For Yourself”—are right in line, quality-wise, with the EP tracks, which means that the only colossal piss-off is that the Manic Depressives enthusiasts among us have all of a mere FIVE songs with which we are supposed to content ourselves FOR THE REST OF OUR FUCKING LIVES. Well i never. One’d imagine an interested observer could trace their influence thru fast/melodic later-80’s bands like the Nils, et al, were one so disposed. 0:30 Second Flash were head Manic Larry Holmes ((aka “L the P”)) similarly-themed follow-up project, and their “No No” is probably better than any Manic Depressives song ((although, like i said, there’s only five of ‘em, so the odds weren’t numerically daunting)). Further, “Another Time” sounds kinda like the Spits, so there goes your proof. Great music from a great scene that, pound for pound, seemed leaps and bounds more vital and productive than contemporaneous, similarly-scaled, better-curated scenes like Portland and Seattle ((or so it appears to me, a rank outsider)), and you can put Larry Holmes of the Manic Depressives/0:30 Second Flash/Final Solution Records front and center on any list of early US punk movers/shakers who didn’t get anything even vaguely approaching their due. Keep the Saints out of the Packers’ way as we march to Super Bowl XLVI and I’ll sing your praises forever. BEST SONG: 0:30 Second Flash, “No No” BEST SONG TITLE: Manic Depressives, “Going out with the In-Crowd” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I might have reviewed the Manic Depressives EP for Ripper fanzine from San Jose but i really don’t remember now and if you know where i put my box of old fanzines, you’re a better man than I.

 –norb (Rerun)