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Brimstone: Mannsverk

Reining their name in from the indulgent The Brimstone Solar Radiation Band to the more palatable Brimstone and cutting their number back to four, Mannsverk finds a band straddling the chasm between 70s Rock and Jazz, where outbursts of madness are as likely to tumble forth as they are to be pulled back in and tamed into something more song like. Don't confuse this for an easy ride, for if you do, you'll be sure to miss out on a host of nuances and intricacies which offer up unusual asides and cunningly conspiratorial whispers sure to reveal outcomes you hadn't expected. Yet somehow the sheer cascade of notes and bringing together of ideas disparate enough to feel standoffish, actually makes the surprising, oddly straight forward and the zaniness, a little ho-hum.

Take the 70s Funkingness and almost harpsichordal interludes of "Voodoo" and add R. Edwards expansive, yet never OTT vocals, before adding some dextrous and impressive drumming and then layering on top a sparse, ruggedly lo-fi guitar solo and bass of the boinging. Then reintroduce the groove and compose an accordion melody to squeeze and wheeze over it all and, well you're left with a conglomeration of ideas that all work in isolation, yet feel compromised when latched onto each other. Yet it would be wrong to suggest that even here the odd isolated burst of King Crimson grating alongside the merest flash of Jethro Tull doesn't still put a fleeting smile on the face. The questionably titled "Flapping Lips At Ankle Height" introduces retro Prog strings to swoop and hover over the listener's head, bursts of harmony vocals and an accessible riff combining with a sweet harshness, before evolving into one of the more reserved and enjoyable moments on this album.

And so the merry-go-round continues, "The Fixed Wheel" almost, in sections, simple enough to remind of Elvis Costello or The Stranglers, yet melodious enough to still offer way more than simple 80s-Rock crossovers. "The Giant Fire" a wandering meander that struggles to ask for directions, while the lengthy "Sjo & Land" uses its lengthy length to lengthily go not very far, at length. Twelve minutes finding and smashing the breaking point of engaging.

Mannsverk is an interesting and at times challenging journey and while the payoff often outweighs the effort to reach it, there's no doubt that fatigue can settle in unless you approach in a rambunctious mood.

Track Listing
1. A Norwegian Requiem
2. Rubberlegged Man
3. Voodoo
4. Flapping Lips At Ankle Height
5. The Fixed Wheel
6. The Giant Fire
7. Sjo & Land
8. This Is The Universe

Added: July 21st 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Brimstone online
Hits: 1341
Language: english

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