Bursting forth from the incredibly lucrative musical valleys of South Wales in a flurry of hooks and faux-American nasal accents is five-piece Manhattan Coast. This One’s For You is an accomplished declaration of audacious intent, their collective aim angled firmly at producing that smash hit pop-punk single that will bring them success and the subsequent ubiquitous energy drink endorsement deal. In fact, every one of the five tracks included on the EP is riddled with traits that have brought success to every high achieving contemporary pop-punk band, to the extent that ‘This One’s For You’ acts as a checklist for generic pop-punk exponents. Incredibly nasal American accents that belie the band’s true geographical locality: check. Bouncy, major-key breakdowns: check. Huge choruses that more-or-less render the rest of the song irrelevant: check. A measured dose of backing vocal “woah-oh’s”: check.
To set aside my charcoal black heart for one moment, and ignore the acidic cynicism that spews from it like an overactive geyser, This One’s For You is pop-punk in its most concentrated form. A perfect melding of driving drums and choruses that live up to their intended purpose as aural fishing nets, designed to trap impressionable teens with volleys of hooks enacted by singer and guitarist in equal measure.
What’s more, This One’s For You proves just how little pop-punk has managed to progress. Despite a few bands – Don Broco for one, that have managed to at least attempt to incorporate the slightest amount of stylistic variation into their otherwise straightforward pop-punk opus – Manhattan Coast seem irrefutably trapped in a musical void circa 2007. Images of floppy side fringes and Topman v-necks abound.
They do everything that their sub-genre demands of them, and nothing more. In this respect, This One’s For You acts as a definitive genre study; a perfect and studious amalgamation of everything that popularized pop-punk, condensed into five streamlined tracks that should attain some sort of pop-punk perfection, given the hindsight Manhattan Coast are afforded to the pop-punk discourse. It’s fervently generic, the exact same formula being peddled by countless troupes of preened and idealistic lads in the UK’s toilet venues, still holding onto the dream that they can replicate the success of such arena filling bands as You Me At Six. To their credit, Manhattan Coast possess a keen ear for a catchy melody or two, but sadly none of the songs are particularly memorable affairs, despite their best efforts to the contrary. Opener ‘War On The Weekend’ is probably the most concerted effort, its chorus a radio-friendly exhibition of vocal histrionics and simplistic guitar melodies, sure to win the hearts of a swathe of fifteen year-old girls should it be granted airplay on Radio One. The rest however, never rise above average.
If you’re an ardent fan of pop-punk, Manhattan Coast will unquestionably appeal; for others, their generic and uninspired compositions leave a bland taste in the mouth.
2 out of 5 high fives!