I feel like Manipulation is the odd-band-out on the Sorry State catalog. Like the rest of the bands the label puts out, they have that total “we are hardcore record collector nerds putting out music for hardcore record collector nerds” vibe that seems to be the one common tie that binds the label’s aesthetic, but instead of trying to push a lot of different influences into one big meta grinder and seeing what comes out, Manipulation have honed in a pretty specific idea and are picking it apart. While the varied sounds of the other bands on the label seem to work for them, for Manipulation trying to break away from a sound that they already do so well may be detrimental, so I’m happy they don’t try to please too many people. For a band that isn’t “crust” in terms of fashion or cookie-cutter politics, they’re a band that does the style at least as well their contemporaries ingrained in the genre. There’s a fresh approach to the sound, and while they may not craft the best individual songs, every individual record they’ve put out has held up well as a whole, clearly better than the sum of its parts. I was a little apprehensive going into this because I didn’t know if the ideas presented in their 7”s would translate to an LP, but I’m happy to say they’ve pulled it off.
–Ian Wise (Sorry State, sorrystaterecords.com)