Review: Manuals – In A Clean, Well Lighted Place

It’s pretty impressive that Manuals can make this much noise, given that there’s only two of them. Alex and Andy hail from that place up north called Leeds and make very noisy, discordant emo. Their latest single In A Clean, Well Lighted Place brings back memories of emo’s first wave, with atmospheric, yet fuzzy-as-hell guitars, and a desolate sonic landscape that’ll satisfy that one person you know who’s still trying to rename all the titleless Indian Summer tracks.

There are very few vocals to be found throughout the eponymous track, and fewer snappier lyrics. Instead, Manuals have focused on making it as hard-hitting as possible, and what words can be found cutting through the frantic riffs and razor-sharp drums are bleak and glorious. There’s beautiful peaks and troughs as the music rises and falls with wonderfully twiddly riffs. ‘In A Clean, Well Lighted Place’ is pretty perfect.

‘A Room Of Our Own’ blends in perfectly. As it goes on, it starts to sound a bit too much like its predecessor, but it’s a difficult thing to get right in this genre. Nevertheless, there’s still a lot to love, and if you were missing the pained, frustrated screams, they make an appearance halfway through, completely bringing the track together. But as the song hits the three minute mark, a long and barely distinguishable speech takes over, backed by a ton of distortion, and it just totally destroys the feeling.

However, what Manuals demonstrate throughout these two tracks is that there’s still a place for music like this. It’s not for everyone, but that’s part of what makes it great. Keep experimenting.

3.5 out of 5 high fives

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