ManDown – We Want Blood

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: N/A
Released: 2020
Buy Album: https://open.spotify.com/artist/42yXUeXGaa2G37hjpUwBFv
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/mandownFB/

BAND LINE-UP:

Iain Turner – Guitar & Vocals,
Laurence Arnold – Drums.

TRACKLISTING:

1. Try Or Die
2. Tick Tock
3. Kiss
4. We Want Blood

REVIEW:

It is not uncommon to find certain circles of the rock and metal world to be a little hoity toity; believing complexity constitutes good music and all others are false. Enough has been written about elitism in these circles, so we will forego another round of it today, but it is an often-used stick to beat about certain bands. Yet, sometimes, all you want is a good, old fashioned blast of music that presses those aggression buttons, while simultaneously tickling the “catchy receptors” in the brain. This is where the lifelong friends in MANDOWN can step in to offer a hearty helping.

‘We Want Blood’ may not be terribly complicated, but goodness, is it a slice of good fun. There is something very British about the EP, with an honest-to-God sound and punkish attitude that will translate seriously well live. The production lends itself quite neatly to the above, with the record sounding crisp and clear, but with just enough edge to give it a rawer feel than most. This is most notable in the guitars, which have a slight twang to them that adds a wicked bite and presence to the fold. The energy that it creates will have you up on your feet and trashing the room you are in in no time at all.

Where ‘We Want Blood’ succeeds the most is in the juxtaposition of those aggressive guitars and the vocals. Whilst the latter won’t be bothering any high-end choirs any time soon, their snark and melody really helps to cement the EP’s four songs in the mind. Take, for instance, the catchy-as-hell “la-la-la” refrain after the second chorus in “Tick Tock” – so simple, yet you’ll want to have a go at singing along (dare ya). Similarly, the harmonised chorus for “Kiss” is an imperfect, shouty riot that thoroughly gives the impression of a band having written songs for them and having a great time doing so. It all rather feels like a polished capture of a band playing for themselves in their garage – no weight of expectation; just good fun and beers.

For a four track EP, ‘We Want Blood’ is rather dynamic, featuring plenty of quieter passages to draw breath (though “quieter” shouldn’t necessarily be taken literally!) “Kiss” and the EP’s title track are particularly good examples of this, with the former beginning with cleaner guitars, and the latter closing with them. However, for pure aggression, “Try Or Die” is a delightful opener and essentially punk 101, were it not for the stuttering guitar interlude before the song’s half-time chorus, or the rather classy “ooh” gang vocals in the background. Not a lot of bands would be able to carry that and have it come off well, but somehow MANDOWN manage it (as well as ensuring it stays stuck in your head!)

MANDOWN may not have the complexity of DREAM THEATER, but their debut EP is four tracks of good times rock that will have you grooving and moving before long. At barely over ten minutes, it is very much a “blink and you’ll miss it” record, but it is as long as it needs to be. Thankfully, this duo clearly demonstrate a knack for writing riotous rock that knows when to draw breath before the next attack, so more will definitely be welcome in future. Until then, ‘We Want Blood’ will suffice and we can only wait for this to be played live as it will be a right blast.

REVIEW BY LEE CARTER

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