26 January 2007

Mancino - Manners Matter

In 1502 Leonardo da Vinci produced a sketch for a project that was meant to construct a bridge to span the Golden Horn. The proposed bridge (which would've been the longest in the world at the time) was considered too ambitious and thus was not built. However, five hundred years later Leonardo's design was brought to life by The Leonardo Bridge Project when a smaller bridge based on his design was constructed in Norway. Now his full original vision is set to be realized as there are plans currently underway to build an exact copy of da Vinci's bridge to span the Golden Horn. Ambition at first deflected, now the world has finally caught up.

The poorly related cautionary tale above relays one possible outcome after Mancino releases their debut LP Manners Matter on the 30th of January. Am I saying that this album is the band's overly-ambitious attempt to come up with a plan for a bridge to span the Gowanus Canal? No. Forget about the bridge for a second. The fact is, this is not the kind of music you see regularly bandied about on the hot music sites. There's no "tangible" buzz behind this band and they're without a derivative kill-your-brain-cells Hype Machine hit. Yes, these are the times we live in. An era of unsigned bands becoming megastars on the merit of two songs built upon 4 distinct chords jammed out in 4/4 with a tiny measure of enthusiasm. Fans of music are too busy looking over their shoulder to validate their own "taste", too busy voraciously consuming and disposing MP3s, to know how to create their own unique roster of favorites. Kill your idols, revive those brains cells, there's more to life than keeping up with Pitchfork and music bloggers.

Mancino knows this and Manners Matter is living proof. On this record, three young men from Brooklyn have crafted a singular sound with definitive artistic vision. The opening song, "Circus Scabs", tickles the palate the way a well-set amuse bouche does. It hints at a nouveau Beach Boys aesthetic that shows up again (on the Beach Boys meets Beatles "People We Meet") and again (in the final song, the Guy Viseur meets Beach Boys "Motels") on the album and immediately offers a taste of what the band is up to in terms of production, adventurous songwriting, and lyrical sense. Then, without warning, comes a dance classic. "Hetchie Hutchie Footchie" revives all of everything you would have loved about '60s dance music, if only you'd been around then. There are words for you to latch on to (relate to) and sing along with; and, best of all, it hustles and grooves and gets the feet moving. Likewise, track four, "The Anvil and Me", is another catchy song that might see radio success as a single in another era. From there, "Definition of an Accident" offers clues to the kind of music that has influenced all three members of the band. The track is an amalgam of classical, jazz, and rock experimentation that builds into a whirlwind and then "falls to pieces" handsomely. From this end "Five Blades" rises like an autumnal late-night beach party phoenix. Not a real thing, no, but it could be.

What will surely be side two if Manners Matter is ever pressed to vinyl begins with the best song on the album, "L'amour (or Less)". It's an almost guaranteed love at first listen kind of song. As well, it's at this point that Mancino's debut LP really comes into its own. The sequence of tracks 7-11 offers highlight after highlight with standout moments in each and every song. Throughout the album, and most notably during this second half, there's a sense of what drives obsessive studio wizards like Steely Dan and XTC and the production work done by keyboardist/backup vocalist Nadim Issa is a wonder to behold.

When matched with the right amounts of luck and timing, ambition can drive men towards greatness and an ambitious creative force is one thing Mancino's got in abundance. What remains to be seen is if Manners Matter will in fact take the band across the Gowanus and into the hearts, minds, and ears of people around the world. With such a solidly defined debut album, and the song "Buy My Product" providing the best suggestion of where this band might be heading in the future, an increasing fan base would appear to be a certainty. Buy this product*.

Listen:
"Hetchie Hutchie Footchie"
"L'amour (or Less)"

Watch:
"Hetchie Hutchie Footchie" music video

Visit Mancino on MySpace.

Mancino Live:
27 January @ Mercury Lounge
16 February @ Pianos
1 March @ Mercury Lounge

*you techinically can't yet buy the product** but on Tuesday you will be able to at CD Baby and the iTunes store.

**Mancino is playing a Manners Matter album release show tomorrow at Mercury Lounge with The Muggabears and Hymns - buy the album there too!

9 comments:

Dodge said...

MOKB hearts Mancino!

Anonymous said...

Your right about that L'amour song. That keyboard part is excellent.

yojimbo said...

you convinced me. i'll be there tonight. better be good.

Tanya said...

I have yet to hear the music but I want to. That's a really nice review.

Jenny Piston said...

I was at Parkside seeing another show on Saturday night, but we managed to make it to Mercury around 11pm. A great band was just finishing up and was, unfortunately, followed by a not-so-great band. It was incredibly crowded -- too bad we didn't see each other!

Anonymous said...

The show on Sat was excellent but damn did it start earlier than expected?

Chris said...

Yeah seemed like everything started early?? Or at least ended early? It was so packed though. Great show!

Anonymous said...

Sonofagun. Me and three friends came to the show because of this post -seriously- and then ended up getting the CD and a tshirt because Mancino was so good. And cute. And friendly. Respeck. Oh and were you there Mr. Earfarm? We'd have said thanks if so. Oh and we missed the first band because the show started earlier than we figured it would.

- Elena

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