EP review by firstname.lastname@example.org
It's always a bit sad when a band you like either split or decide to take an extended break, but it's even more of a kick in the teeth when that band are one you've only recently discovered and are in the form of their lives. After forming back in 2009 as Beach Parade (hence the title of this EP), this London trio changed their name to Black Manila and began releasing records in 2011. It was earlier this year that they caught our ears with the brilliant 'Shake That Thing' single. The word was that they'd be following their successful European dates with a load more gigs (which took place) and were working on a debut album (which now may not happen). Stopping short of saying they're calling it quits forever, the sprightly garage-rock types have decided on an "indefinite break", so that's bad news for the fans, but every cloud has a silver lining. As a send-off and another glimpse of just what we'll be missing, the guys are offering this new four-track EP as a free download.
Named 'Beach Parade' after their original incarnation, we've been lucky enough to be given the première of the title-track's video. A trippy, lo-fi, psychedelic film, it perfectly encapsulates the mood and style of the song; guitars that have been left to soak in a bathtub full of reverb, surfy riffs and an authentic early '60s sound. It should be prescribed by the NHS as a care for SAD. The instrumental number doesn't tell the whole story of the EP though, as it kicks off with the garage-psych rocker that is 'Keep Your Head On'; an absolute must for anyone who appreciates those amazing lost 45s that often get dug up for compilation albums by excellent bands you never knew existed. The nuggets don't stop there. 'Bicho Raro' takes this traditional R&B sound and adds an Hispanic flavour, further banishing those winter blues. It's proof that Black Manila are a band growing in stature, and a group with more than one string to their bow. Finally we reach the Jonathan Richman-esque 'All For You' which brings yet more diversity and shows an understanding of what rock n' roll music is all about: it's pure, simple "tune", with plenty of hooks, spirit and a coolness that's completely natural. If this is to be their parting gesture then they couldn't really have left us with a better memory, and they've definitely left us hoping they have a change of heart.
Black Manila's website
Download the EP
For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter