Manatees (4 stars)

Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh, Tue 7 Oct


Let’s call it the Isis effect. But nowadays with the Boston group gaining mainstream exposure thanks to a recent support with Tool, the number of bands playing epic, shoegazer, soundscape rock is a lot more than it used to be. Thankfully, Carlisle based trio, Manatees, are on the path to being something special.

It’s clear the group have been raised on a steady diet of noise-mongers like Neurosis, Swans and the aforementioned Isis (read: ear-drum shattering noise, interspersed with more reflective, ambient passages) but their delivery is their own.

Early numbers recall the fluid hardcore-grooves of defunct Swedes, Breach before the set takes on a more ambitious tone, as the songs get longer and the ambient interludes emerge. Laptop-based electronics add additional texture while halogen spotlights and strobes alternate the mood accordingly.

By the time all three musicians are pounding out a tribal rhythm on separate drums, feedback hits deafening levels and the strobes reach epilepsy-inducing intensity, the impact is astonishing. Great stuff.

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