by / March 29th, 2010 /

The Redneck Manifesto – Friendship

 3/5 Rating

(Richter Collective)

There can’t have been many albums as hyped as this one on the Irish music scene in a very, very long time. The Redneck Manifesto‘s preview tracks succeeded in crashing both Nialler9, Thumped.com and even the Irish Times music section in the build up to Friendship‘s release, and – having had to wait six years since the last full length I Am Brazil came out – certain corners of the Dublin music scene have been treating the latest offering as the second coming of the messiah. Not bad for an album that – given Richie’s success in the mean time- we weren’t entirely sure would ever come.

As anyone whose heard The Redneck’s previous material might expect, Friendship is an intense, bordering-on-cluttered experimental rock record that pelts from track to lyric-less track at breakneck speed. At least it is in the beginning, before calming into a subtler, more keyboard-heavy style for tracks like -Hex’ and delicate closer -Cloud Beard’. It’s also a record that’s incorporated just a little more of Jape’s solo style along the way, with the funky electro undertones shining through in places and adding a fresh new element to what’s come before. This has a heavily layered feel, with pounding riffs taking their turn alongside brief periods of dominance for each instrument, including an array of almost tribal drum solos that add some imaginative texture. Riff-tastic opener -Black Apple’ sounds better with every listen, while tracks like the amusingly titled (or are we just being dirty minded?) -Rubber Up’ take on a catchy staccato rhythm, with the occasionally split second of arm waving dance floor filler bursting through in the quieter moments.

The Redneck Manifesto’s scene has exploded in a major way since back in 2004, though, and there’s no denying Friendship sounds far less unique for the competition. The biggest difference between this band and their contemporaries, perhaps, is in Manifesto’s ability to highlight each musician individually. Many of their subtler tones seem to flit in and out of your consciousness, drawing attention to a range of instrumentation over the course of songs like -Little Nose’ without sacrificing a coherent theme or momentum.

It’s an instantly accessible album, and one that all in all comes across like it would only improve played live. Having said that, despite the hype, this is not going to change the world, or at least not until you get down to a show. Don’t get us wrong, the musicianship is perfect, and the near trance like vibe it can induce lives on, but in the face of such strong competition, The Redneck Manifesto are just a touch short of the originality they could once claim. There’s not a whole lot here we haven’t heard a few times over the last year or two, though whether that’s the fault of The Redneck’s or the bands they undoubtedly influenced is entirely a matter of perspective. The Redneck Manifesto are no doubt a subtler and more enticing proposition than most -math rock’ acts all in, but there were times when we genuinely wondering if we were listening to a new record from any of the bands they have influenced along the way. That’s certainly not a bad thing, but it does take away just a little of the wow factor.

Listen: Spotify | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Youtube

  • Pete

    Really love this album!! I think it absolutely blows the much over hyped and generally terrible “And so I watch You From Afar” album out of the water!!

  • Personally I much prefer the ASIWYFA album, it’s just got that bit more punch to it for me whilst retaining the subtlety of the slower parts. I like this album, but certainly dont love it, I doubt it will stay on rotation very long at home. The similarities are almost blinding, though, which I think is The Redneck’s biggest problem at the moment: they’re just not that original anymore. Sure, they were one of the earlier bands to write this style of music, so I see why that’s unfair, but it doesnt make the album any better for me, personally.

  • Pete

    I certainly see your point about how it’s not as original considering the type of bands that are around at the moment, I just think the Rednecks do it a lot better than all of those bands. I just personally can’t stand ASIWYFA and can’t get my head around the hype as they’re about 10 years too late to make any telling contribution to thepost rock scene and that is certainly what they are, a very very bad brainless post rock band, in my opinion!!

  • We’ll have to agree to disagree Pete mate, I’m a massive ASIWYFA fan, so much so that I find it hard to be objective about them to be honest (gave them an absolutely storming review on this site when the debut first came out, it sucked me in and I’ve never really found my way out again!) Interesting to hear another perspective, though, I’m well aware that The Rednecks have a truly monstrous following, though I’d never even been to Ireland when they were last around regularly. I prefer Richie’s solo stuff myself. Is that wrong?

  • Pete

    Ha, not at all James, Ritual is an amazing album!! Definitely one of my favorite Irish albums of the past couple of years!

  • anon

    I’ll say this: the beauty of redneck is in fact their innate ability to
    play rather simple pieces in a very complex rhythm
    or tempo.

    Of the whole “post-math” rock spiel, this band never sacrifices melody
    or good riffage for over the top technicality like don cab or many of their
    predecessors. However, that is where my opinion comes in…this article
    was great but definitely painted the picture that redneck was a major
    contributor to the technical instrumental scene?

    tortoise to don cab and even relapses awful dysrhythmia(sp?) as well as
    the major contributions of the kinsella family and friends (owls/ghostsandvodka/makebelieve)
    and bands like pele as well as even japan toe made a lot of head room before
    redneck really exploded onto the scene internationally with I am brazil in 04?

    it certainly may be true that they’ve had a major impact on the UK scene and
    paved the way for saturation with bands like ttng(more kinsella influenced – lovely lads)
    maps and boring, or And so we wanted a name as long as trail of dead but with
    half the talent and all the redundancies of latent eits inspired
    post rock…”math” rock boomed long before these Irish mates…they just happen to do it
    best currently – my grammar might be off due to iPhone but great article mate.

    sorry I really don’t like and so I…but I do think your review is spot on

    cheers!