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  Honeymilk/Playlouder Recordings  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Brett Spaceman  


Can it really be that 18 years have passed since My Bloody Valentine gave us the landmark Isn't Anything? More than enough time for the kids to have grown up and move way beyond touching just their own rude parts. This is a kinky adolescent sex of an album. Bad eyeliner and ripped skinny-rib. Embarrassed fumbling, messy knickers, and lipstick around the nipple. You're not sure if what you just did was legal or healthy but you sure had fun.

Shoegaze is back and out of a minimalist psychedelic howl, come Norwegians Serena-Maneesh. Theirs is a Shoegaze with a Y chromosome. In touch with their feminine side, yes but only for kicks. Melodies are buried in sound. Rock submerged by effects. Walls of over-amplified, distorted guitars (like duelists fencing with chainsaws) work at odds with the harmonic vocals they carry. Serena-Maneesh forgo the ethereal prettiness of many of their current peers (Soundpool, Ether Aura) in favour of the more visceral, druggy side. Like MBV, Spaceman 3, and even The Jesus And Mary Chain, theirs is a sound with more than an echo of Suicide and The Velvets. One of Serena-Maneesh even looks like Nico. There's no extra charge.

There are disorientating aspects to this album, not least of which the appreciably strange running order that sees signature cut, and candidate for opener, Sapphire Eyes buried in the middle of the album. Meanwhile the obvious choice for closing track, Candlelighted, is tossed away forth up. Do this in a gig set list and watch half your potential fans migrate to the bar.

Un Deux is the catchiest track on display. With its deceptive melody masking the knife hidden behind its back, it recalls early Boo Radleys in the days before hit records became too important to them and their Creation label. Behiver II is aptly titled because the wailing guitars sound like a bell-jar full of angry little flying buzzing fuckers. Listening to the track feels like we're just been thrown into the jar with them. The agony and the ecstasy.

I am not sure what the thinking was behind Simplicity? Or for that matter the closer, Your Blood In Mine. This one is a terrific argument in favour of hidden tracks; i.e., it isn't, but it should have been. I am reminded of Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space by Spiritualized, which was as close to perfect a (nu) psychedelic album can reach for 11 of its 12 tracks and then we had to endure the 16 minute dirge that was Cop Shoot Cop. Quality control guys! Ah, but it's probably somebody's favourite. Serena-Maneesh are probably that too. Many times over.


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