Feb 25, 2009

People mention Husker Du and Leatherface when bringing up Manifesto Jukebox. I’d huck in a splot of Jawbox. Someone even name dropped, Mush, Leatherface’s masterpiece. Fellow Razorcake creator, Sean, walked in when I was giving this one of many listens and without making a joke, asked, “Is this Hot Water Music?” Hmmm. Maybe me ears aren’t hearing things right. Yeah, the vocalist sounds like he’s sandpapered on vinyl. The guitars can glisten and slice, but the tempos all seem to be in the same range. All the songs fold into one another without a whole bunch of distinction. Sure, it’s well played and they do a decent job of sounding desperate and taking a couple twists and turns, but it just doesn’t grab me, shake me, make me want to sing along, or make me want drink gasoline from a bottle or lend a closer ear. To me, it’s the difference between sterility and organic explosion. Manifesto Jukebox seem to be playing inside the craters that previous, better bands – bands that I’ve listened to and enjoyed for years on end – have cleared out. To check my ears’ calibration, I listened to this ten times over two weeks, steeled my nerves, scrunched my face, and listened to Remedy from tip to tail. Nope. Didn’t stick.

 –todd (BYO)