A fascinating and slightly frustrating debut, this. It's obvious that this young band has a sweet tooth for--and a pretty good knack at writing--textured, emotional epic rock. But it suffers from the Dead Jeff Buckley Syndrome--lead singer Paul Gross seems to be trying a little too hard to propel the emotional pain in his voice. Opening track, "Chemical for Criminals" sounds a bit bland, a bit forced, and as a first impression, it doesn't whet the appetite. The next song, "Café Barcelona," reminds a bit too much of Brand New, a good band, but one that hundreds of sensitive garage-rock emo Myspace bands have already imitated. Those to songs prove to be a bit frustrating, to be sure, because I'm sensing something here--something potentially great. Like the unfortunately-obscure Ours, Manic's a band that could--and probably will--release something really beautiful and original, if the downcast, dank "Leaving Araby" is any indication. The same can be said for the sneaky, cobweb-crawly "In a Room on Fire," and the epic closer, "Mr Evans," perhaps the best song on Floor Boards, and it certainly hints at a greater potential. So perhaps this little introductory EP might be slight, but look beneath the surface and you'll hear a great band in the birthing.
Band Website: http://www.manicband.com
Label Website: http://www.suretone.com
Labels: Manic, Suretone Records, The Introductory EP