Review: ManRaze//’PunkFunkRootsRock’.

The release of music as part of a ‘supergroup’ comes with a great number of questions. Do you replicate the sound of the bands your members are known for? Do you create something new? Do you just flat out go off the wall with experimentation? What do you do? What happens when you take members of Def Leppard, Girl and the Sex Pistols and cram them into a super-trio? That last question can be answered by taking a look at the fantastic threesome ManRaze.

Completed by Phil Collen, Simon Laffy and Paul Cook, the threesome have recently released the follow up to their 2008 debut ‘Surreal’ with the more descriptive title of ‘PunkFunkRootsRock’. Summed up as ‘a little bit punk’, ‘a little bit funk’, ‘a little bit rock’ and so on, the band have taken their second big musical step with their rock and roll creation and, quite frankly, it’s enthrallingly addictive.

The album kicks up with ‘Over My Dead Body’, the one track that has now been playing internally since a first listen. Outrageously catchy, it’s a cracking opener to the album. Starting on a high with neat guitar solos, the track would be pigeonholed into the “rock” section of the record’s title. ‘Lies, Lies, All Lies’ also slots nicely under the same category with growling vocals, another ridiculously catchy chorus and sleek guitar solos to suit.

‘I, Superbiker’ is a more eclectic track, with a high-paced prominent “punk” influence. More slick – and very impressive – solos feature against harsh background guitar licks. This would be another stand-out track of the record. Ticking that “funk” influence – step up ‘Closer To Me’. A more relaxed, chill track sees Phil’s vocal register tackle a more reggae track.

‘All I Wanna Do’ – the instrumental closing track of their sophomore album, if you will – has another catchy introduction (how many times can one record coin the term catchy, really?) and a techno undertone. Does any more need to be said to express the musical experimentation throughout? It’s as if dubstep has infiltrated all musical beings, even if just acutely. Even without vocals to accompany the track, it gives credit to the musicality of the record by the song standing strong on its own merit.

One thing that has to be said about the record: Do not let the album cover fool you. Admittedly, the record’s title-font is a little garish and the cover overall… well, it’d be fair to say that from these rock ‘n’ roll veterans, you’d probably expect a little more.  This is a quality album, steeped in various influences and experiments. It’s far tighter than their debut in 2008 and the sense of the band being more together shines through. A warning should also be issued: Tracks will get stuck in your head after a listen or two.

ManRaze are a stellar band in their own right, other musical projects aside, and this record completely and utterly does them justice as musicians. They’ve managed to surpass their debut ‘Surreal’ with ‘PunkFunkRootsRock’, but the bar is most definitely set very high for their next effort to aim for.

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