The Manix - Stay Low and Go (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Manix

Stay Low and Go (2009)

Heart of the Lakes

The Manix of Minneapolis (not to be confused with Manix of Long Island) are probably best known nowadays in relation to guitarist and vocalist Corey Ayd's "other band," Banner Pilot, even though they've been at it almost as long, toured the country, and have their own healthy catalog to boast.

Released earlier this year, Razorcake predicted Stay Low and Go might be one of those discs that doesn't grab you right off the bat, but eventually ends up at the top of the playlist, and that appears to be its exact effect. Though the Manix' brand of Midwestern pop-punk is rooted in the tradition of its forerunners with catchy guitar leads, members pulling multiple vocal duties and compelling group sing-alongs, they're certainly no derivative product of their environment.

The first five seconds of "I'll Fill It In" are rather unassuming, a three-chord progression over a stiff rhythm that quickly breaks into the frenetic pop-punk the Manix display over the course of the next 20 minutes. Ayd and guitarist Steve Svennson craft a wall of chunky palm-mutes on the following "NO Country," which bleeds into "Salt's Too Sweet," featuring one of the best guitar hooks on the disc. "Apparently" launches forward behind the thrust of Mike DeGree's pounding rhythm and a caustic chorus of "You left me no choice / I'd rather kill myself than hear your voice." Catchy harmonies and a strong lead abound on "Twice Over" while Tyler Rasmussen rounds out the low end on one of the record's best tracks. The amusing closer "Sub-bourbon" sums up the disc in fine fashion: "We're back to burning bridges / Convinced we're not alone / Return to fill our ditches / Bring all the memories back home."

With additional vocals by Zack Gontard (Off with Their Heads, Rivethead, Dear Landlord), the only thing bad about this disc is when it ends after eight great songs. More of the Manix, please.