Review Summary: Oops! You must have clicked on the wrong link by accident... King of Limbs is right below this one, it's okay!
It’s like a fu
cking fix that needs satisfied. Maybe that’s hyperbolic; in fact, it definitely is. There’s definitely a routine, though. Don’t ask me why, but my music-listening has been at an all-time low lately. Nevertheless, the routine needs satisfied. Every so often I come across the most likable, instantly-satisfying EP’s from lesser-known screamo/hardcore/pop-punk bands and fall head-over-sneakers for them. Suis La Lune, Grown Ups, Stay Ahead of the Weather, Touche Amore... many a superb band have fallen victim to my obsession. EP’s are an intrinsically appealing venue, with their short length and lack of commitment and input, and now seems like the perfect time for me to have discovered Manbearpig. Hailing from Norwich, England, unsigned band MBP play a recognizable hybrid of hardcore and screamo elements that is somehow erupting with catchiness. Their first EP was recorded by the guys from Maths, I believe; which, if you’re familiar, should have you checking this out already. But for now, let’s ignore the atrocious name (sorry guys... but c’mon, seriously?). It’s a misnomer, I assure you. Admittedly, I can’t find much in Ruined Emo
that separates the band from their aforementioned contemporaries. Don’t get me wrong-- they’re in high company, and this is the EP’s biggest flaw (if you can call it that) and strength simultaneously. Nevertheless, Ruined Emo
undoubtedly succeeds in fulfilling my fix, and I’m guessing many of you have similar wants.
Simply put, Manbearpig has zazz. Yes, f
ucking zazz-- they have that indelible quality to their music that’s so mysteriously alluring. Could it be the catchy chorus’s refrain in “Allardyce?” Maybe it’s the band’s ability to combine the best elements of melodic hardcore and screamo together that makes it so tempting, or even an aspect as simple as the easy-as-pie 15-minute run-time? The guitars are gritty, the percussion is a stable staple, there’s not much not to love, here. Either way, MBP (let’s just refer to them as that
, shall we?) is refreshingly entrancing. What’s odd about the EP, in the best way possible, is the piece’s balance throughout a mere 5 songs. You don’t usually hear praise being flung towards albums with a definite lack of highlights, but a highlight is difficult to pinpoint on the EP where so many individual moments are so endearingly eye-catching and shiny.
I understand that others sense some sort of deep catharsis and significance from albums like ... To the Beat of A Dead Horse
or Lost Ground
; but it’s easy listening for me-- blithe and mindless, even. If there’s one thing that MBP (and honestly, it may only be one) does to set themselves away from their peers it’s exemplifying this trait, it’s the vocal melodies. Exhibited best on “White Gold” and “Allardyce,” MBP displays an odd amount of ebullience and bounciness in the catchy vocal lines. It adds to the zazz. It satisfies my need for infectious hardcore/screamo, and is literally the only album with enough allure to pull me away from the clutches of the King of Limbs
, right now. Frankly, there’s not a lot of room for failure on Ruined Emo
, as they play the line between fresh and too-derivative more than a little. Thankfully, they never cross the divide. MBP might not blow you away with innovation, but I dare you to listen to this just once-- because if you’re anything like me, Defeater and Touche Amore fans, the zazz will have you entranced, caught in a web of playing “Balance” right after “Ebb and Flow” fades out, a.k.a. where I find myself right now.