While Manager is a pretty recent band, they bring back college-aged memories of weeknight shows at the local rock club. I probably should’ve been studying more, but there was no shortage of catchy, slightly dense songs from dual guitar bands to keep me out smoking cigarettes and destroying my eardrums long past when I should’ve been in bed.
Manager reminds me of that time; they hit that sweet spot of slightly off-key vocals and catchy guitar lines, offset by boss riffs and arena rock drums. Handclaps couldn’t be too far behind. It was a sound purveyed by so many bands whose names I’ve long since forgotten, but that doesn’t mean this Brooklyn quartet is a throwback.
Manager is reminiscent of late ‘90s/early ‘00s bands, sure, but the way they happen to reference the likes of Sugar and My Bloody Valentine in the same song (“Parade”), and not seem like they’re lurching awkwardly from style to style, is rather impressive. Jon Chinn and Ron Hester wind together some interesting harmonies on top of all their songs, as well. Essentially, the band’s sound is strangely aggressive instrumentation with almost wistful vocals. Rarely have I ever heard an indie rock album just as well suited for volume up, rocking out as quiet introspection, but Manager’s self-titled debut walks that line rather ably.
The songs are a little samey after a while. The tempo rarely varies, and it gets a bit tiresome by the time it comes to flip the record. “You Haven’t The Guts” is one of the rare tracks which tries to get the speed up a bit, but never quite manages to get going. However, while the LP is not going to find its way to the turntable on a regular basis, I feel like Manager might be the perfect act to reinvigorate the idea of staying out late on a school night.
The self titled has a good sound, if a bit on the lo-fi side. There’s a nice mix between the wistful vocals and the aggressive music, and the dynamics could have made for a muddled mess. It’s not the most clear release, but it’s definitely more a result of the recording than the pressing itself.
Right down to the font on the spine, Manager’s release looks like it stepped out of the ‘70s. The cover photo might have a computer on the desk, but the sepia tone, faux-leather chair and Rolodex all scream that era. It’s even a tip-on sleeve which has inside it a printed inner jacket with lyrics and a black-and-white band photo. The 180-gram vinyl is a little more luxurious than the ‘70s — in order to evoke that era, you’d need paper-thin vinyl which wobbles when you pull it from the sleeve. Kind of a cool aesthetic for ‘90s flashback rock, though.
Manager’s self-titled debut is available via Bandcamp.