Encrypt Manuscript - Dialogues (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Encrypt Manuscript

Dialogues (2004)

The Tone Library

Long Island has its pretty nice stock of hardcore bands, but Encrypt Manuscript proves the other end of the spectrum shouldn't go ignored. As displayed on their now 2-year-old EP, Dialogues, the band plays a weird type of jangly indie rock / jazz hybrid, like an even more stop-start obsessed Minus the Bear, but with usually spazzy, screamed vocals as if they were collaborating with the Blood Brothers co-frontmen. Otherwise, in less occurrent moments, Brian Davis compliments his bandmates with a smooth yelp.

As crazy as it sounds, I really think the band takes a serious influence from Make Up. I've made a Nation of Ulysses comparison before, but Make Up seems more like it. After all, Encrypt applies a similarly weird `60s/`70s aesthetic to their artwork and designs and their sound conjures that same type of free for all, club improvisations as viewed by an apathetic liquor-sipping crowd. Their outlandish, obnoxious vocals also manage to contradict the otherwise free-flowing nature of the songs.

But where they could really use some help on Dialogues at one point is a producer to kick the band's ass into making their point more brief. Slotted right in the 2nd spot on the 5-song disc is "The Dead Sleep Here / Theme for Seagulls," which tops out at a whopping six minutes. It's chock full of plenty weird changes, but it's not strong enough to stop from messing up the flow early on, especially when it's preceded by such a solid, frantic opener in "Riot Cop Fox Trot." This type of intended epic conquest was surely pulled to a welcome screeching halt on their more recent self-titled 7", but we'll have a more thought out wrapup on that later. For standout moments, check out the infectious vocal melody in "How Do You Syllabicate Your Name?" ("Either or, every stutter and stammer, Every hem and haw are earthquakes exposing ourselves").

For now, Dialogues serves as a nice introduction into one of the more peculiar, ambitious local acts going. It's hardly perfect, but for such an early release the creativity is admirable. And sure, there's a level of fashion at work here too, but it seamlessly helps play into the whole vibe. Worth a listen for sure.

Riot Cop Fox Trot