Manifesto Jukebox - Remedy (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Manifesto Jukebox

Remedy (2002)


There's an uneasy level of silence about this band. I've seen very little reviews of "Remedy" so far and it's a probably because the album isn't easy to gauge on the first few listens.

Manifesto Jukebox if a Finnish trio roughly in the same vein as Hot Water Music, Small Brown Bike, Leatherface and early Fugazi. The band exhibits the same gruff vocal style and swirling guitar-play as their contemporaries, making far more noise then a three-piece should. "Remedy" charges by at a frantic pace, rarely relying on a particular hook to carry a song as much as riding the wave created from the onset. In this respect the Jukebox may not be immediately satisfying, but their songs have enough substance that you'll find yourself returning time and time again to savor their intricacies. The sonic chaos at times gives way to incredibly effective mood-setting instrumentals. The atmosphere that the buildup to "Exists To Sanity" expresses is truly amazing.

Lyrically the band is heads and tails over anything else I've heard this year (some possible translation awkwardness aside). Just reading through the liner notes along with the Antti's vicious-to-anguished vocal range is fascinating. The lyrics are a good example of how the band has forgone common pop-songwriting conventions. The verses are built on more complex multisyllabic word structures then usually attempted (they use both the words "omnipresent" and "lethargy" in the opening line to a song, if you've ever studied pop-songwriting, that's about as unconventional as it gets). Most importantly, the complexities don't affect the pacing or delivery.

Unfortunately the vocals get lost in the mix at times. The band has a dense enough sound that lower range vocals don't pack the power they should. On a similar level, the band's shouts are all the more effective and work incredibly well with their sound. The title track has some fantastically charging verses that bring to mind Sick Of It All, of all things.

Spend some time with "When Bubbles Burst," "No Love Lost," "Remedy" and "Consent" to get a feel for the band. The more times I spin this, the more I like it. I wouldn't be surprised to see this release falling under everyone's radar yet sneaking onto a lot of top-10 lists this year.