Review Summary: A lot can be done in two years. Learn up, kids.
So here’s a story and simultaneously an overlong, exhausting attempt at answering a rhetorical question. What do you do when faced with a writer’s block or inability to express yourself" Say, you have a specific schedule you do your best to uphold and follow to a tweet, but either circumstances or mere vagueness of the scheduled acts prompt you to distance yourself from it. Say, you have reviews to write, but the sourcing albums turn out to have barely enough material of interest that you lose yourself in thoughts of how to stretch out essentially saying the exact same thing for the duration of the entire review, rather than talking about the album itself. How do you fight it off" Do you revisit the album repeatedly to see if you spot a point to go off of" Or do you go full Thomas Mann and ‘Death in Venice’ the crap out of it, meaning that instead of letting a writer’s block stop you, you exploit your feelings about it in writing about the very writer’ block that stops you from progressing further"
The fatiguing nature of the introductory paragraph should already tell you that I chose to pursue the latter. And I do that regularly in writing or in listening. When I have nothing to write, I write about how I have nothing to write. When I cannot power through listening to an unbearable record, I have a session with one of my favourites and see if I can gather the strength to push through that previous drab record again. So alas, you non-descript ones I chose to abandon; and ahoy to this beauty I spent so much time of my life with.
Okay. That is not true, I did not spent a long time of my life with this record. I only happen to have been around upon the release of this compilation commemorating the great unknowns in 2006 or so. It is a wonder, the amount of outstanding groups that will forever be lost in time, because they happen to have been slightly dismissed in their short life spans. Manicured Noise plummeted around Manchester for two years and managed to record an hour worth of undisputable bangers and knockers (with occasional features of slight caressers). Their signature move was a piercing and loveable saxophone howling and vocals that balance somewhere between whiny and frustrated, but caring.
Not a weak spot on here, not a qualitative slow-down, not a meandering off-beat obscurity. Manicured Noise had it all figured out from the beginning to the very quick end. They knew what they were going for and that effect of both fun catchiness and distressed caution was reached to its surprising full potential. Their themes may not be particularly deep, as they often delve into some silly topics, but they deliver everything with a great deal of enthusiasm and ebullience. They were no political prophets or social commentators. They were kids with a little too much talent to handle and a lot of ridiculous stories to talk about.
How does one write songs with this level of hit-precision" It seems as though the band didn’t actually try to write songs with these particular melodies, it is just that their chemistry and instrumental abilities always paved the way into something absolutely beautiful and infectious like a plague from a dying rat. The tunes are always rather primitive, but it is the arrangement and the engaging execution that turns them fruitful and instantly memorable. It is the band’s charm and finesse that could turn even the most unremarkable jingle into a wondrous hit.
Manicured Noise is an outfit that had the means of becoming a cult classic, but much like many of their contemporaries, nobody could be bothered to turn their heads towards a bright newcomer artistry-prodigy. And so we only can rely on the good people gathering the old recordings of underground groups and releasing them for public’s enjoyment decades after the initial prime-time. The final breath of the 70s and the Mancunian musical ingenuity here for you to indulge in. Have at it.