Manhattan Love Suicides (2006) Review

Noise Pop


Discovering the Manhattan Love Suicides in the mid-2000s was like striking gold in the noise pop revival of that era. Most of the proximal revivalist bands went for the MBV route of studied cacophony. Few at the time seemed interested in exploring the Black Tambourine aesthetic of twee melodies and half-mumbled female vocals wrapped in a thin layer of cheap amplifier fuzz. Like BT, MLS pulls from a lot of the same influences especially C86-era groups like the Shop Assistants and Beat Happening.

If what you’re looking for is a more fuzzed-up version of the Primitives’ brand of indie power pop, the record is worth a look:; “Things You’ve Never Done” and “(The Guy on the) 14th Floor” are like the bastard children of Talulah Gosh and the Ramones. “Skulls” and “Crush Whatever” bring to mind ‘60s girl group influenced twee like Heavenly and Velocity Girl; sunny melodies mixed in with simple, Moe Tucker-style tribal drumming.

In retrospect however, MLS is good only in short doses. A good chunk of the songs are a mush of bored vocals and predictable lo-fi riffs that make it hard to differentiate one from another (“Evil Side”, “Suzy Jones”, “Negative Push”). The slower tracks with acoustic treatments (“Thinking is Killing Me”, “Home”, “Providence”) are dull beyond belief. Knowing this, it makes sense that the band is known for gigs that max out in 15 minutes or less.

What first seemed like a showbiz gimmick borrowed from the Jesus and Mary Chain (another clear sonic touchstone) quickly revealed itself to be clever thinking, as a full-length concert was highly unlikely to be able to hold an audience’s attention for more than a couple of songs. While MLS do hit upon solid melodies every now and then, their full-length should have shaved off a few tracks to maintain its initial rush of fuzzy goodness.


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Asobi Seksu