Friday, July 29, 2011

MANRAZE: Punkfunkrootsrock"

Rating: 8/10

Label: Ear Music/Edel 2011

Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Manraze - Def Leppard's Phil Collen on vocals/guitars, his old GIRL friend: Simon Laffy on bass and Sex Pistols' Paul Cook behind the drums. Gee, what could possible go wrong with such a line-up? No, seriously, it works out pretty well in the end. There are some albums out there whose titles actually mean what they're all about. I wouldn't go as far with "Punkfunkrootsrock" even though they're trying to be all that and more. For instance, the track, "Closer To Me", radio-friendly dub/ska made popular by the likes of U.K's 'The Police' in the late seventies/early eighties.

To be perfectly honest, most of the time, the band sound an awful lot like rough and shabby old rock with glammy, Def Leppard like choruses. I'm sure they're a completely different animal live on stage, however, in the studio they're simply too 'clean' for punk (especially Collens' guitar sound and amp), too rock for funk, and what about the rest of their roots, spunk? but that's nitpicking, no? But seriously, the production by Ger McDonnell is way too sterile/melodic hardrock and the band sound way too 'posh' for their so called "roots".

Some of the twelve tracks: I actually enjoy the close to spooky singing voice of Collen and the opening number, "Over My Dead Body", starts out like the Gene Simmons' fronted KISS before the chorus kicks in with a typical and pretty darn catchy Def Leppard hook of later era. "I C U In Everything", Collen's voice is even spookier this time and darn close to Pete of Type O' Negative (R.I.P.). "All I Wanna Do" takes the blues approach, albeit lite and with a Def Leppard-ish refrain. "Lies" another glammy Def Lep rocker and the same goes with "Get Action". They change around things completely with "Edge Of The World" though. Experimental, spacey rock, the answer to 'what if "Gods Of War" from the Hysteria album was originally a hippie tune? Ehem, weird and the lack of chorus is quite annoying to say the least. And yeah, "Bittersweet", could just as easily have been a Foo Fighter track and there's yet another pointless cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Fire". You'll have to take the good with the bad as it's far from a perfect album. Nontheless, "Punkfunkrootsrock" is quite fun, but don't expect to find much 'punk' nor 'funk' on this platter. Good schtuff!

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