Serena Maneesh – Serena Maneesh (Playlouder)
A debut album from a very potentially exciting new indie band, this is both defined and hamstrung by a love of My Bloody Valentine. Granted, loving MBV is never really a problem, but this band’s thrall of the Creation wonders is never really developed into an identity for themselves.
There is a more ‘modern’ production, which makes things louder – but this serves to undermine what made Loveless so great. That album was all about the subtlety of the production; the tender flowers struggling through the dense sonic soil. The sounds that you are never sure are actually there or, if they are, whether they were intentional. And the glory of the sounds of the ghosts in the machine washing over your being.
Regardless of how inferior this album is to one of the all-time classics of the genre, this plucky debut gets a relatively high placing because it is good on its own terms. There are some solid melodies, and the beat on a track like ‘Candlelighted’ is a great canvas on which the guitars can ring out and jam (and it is a decent approximation of Radiohead’s ‘A National Anthem’).
Compared to alternatives like Hard-Fi and Kasabian, this is like Sonic Youth covering Dylan songs or something. There is absolutely no contest, and for that they should be congratulated. If a little glad the excellent new Mogwai album is a 2006 release.