Hitting the play button on Manifold’s upcoming EP, The Promised Land, you’re greeted instantly with a sound which could have stepped out of a DeLorean. Equal parts glam and sleaze, the five-piece are the archetypal no-nonsense hard rock band you’d expect to hear in the mid-80s.
Lyrically, it’s about what you’d expect for a band of this style. While Manifold put in a tight and polished performance on the songs, the production isn’t the best. Sure, you’d normally penalise a band for such a faux pas in today’s day and age but here, it’s welcome. It feels intentional to add that extra layer of authenticity and grit.
The EP evokes imagery of when unadulterated hard rock consisted of hairspray and spandex. There’s a solid groove from Rucka Russell on drums and bassist JB Storm and you’ll find yourself tapping your foot or nodding along in no time. Meanwhile the guitars of Ewan Driver and Darren Mahoney intertwine, balancing the idea of something dangerous like Mötley Crüe with the more pristine image of Poison. There’s no real deviation from this formula, they’ve found something which works. However, if you dig deep enough, there are hints of late NWOBHM especially in the first half of “Full Throttle”.
Closing out the EP is a cover of “Whole Lotta Rosie”, recorded as a live performance. Not in the “performed in front of a live audience” sense but the “band playing together as a whole unit as one to record it” sense. With no production here, it comes over as a gritty makeover and far more raw than AC/DC’s. John Gunn’s rasping vocals are at their best and whilst not trying to imitate Bon Scott, handles them far better than Axl Rose did.
Manifold have proven there’s no shortage of great bands in Glasgow right now and to hammer that point home, the band celebrate the launch of The Promised Land with a launch show at the O2 ABC on 8th September featuring the groovy Black King Cobra, the blues-drenched Magic Trik and mentalists Mantis Toboggan. And all for the princely sum of £6. For four great bands. Or if you really fancy pushing the boat out, a tenner will get you entry and snag you a copy of the EP.
A great taster and opening salvo for the band, their music is much like their stomping ground of Glasgow: a hint of danger, grimy and rough around the edges but it all adds to the charm of it.
The Promised Land is released on 9th September