Putting on the self-titled debut from Leeds' the Manhattan Love Suicides is like taking a time travel journey back to the heady days of the late '80s when noisy indie pop bands ruled a tiny corner of the music world. The MLS are offspring of bands like the Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, the Primitives, early Ride, and that lot, bands that bathed their melodies in reverb and marinated their hooks in cotton-candied fuzz. Listening to this record also reminds those who were there at the time of a dirty little secret: a lot of bands that followed the noise pop leaders back then weren't very good. They had no ideas or they couldn't sing or they just plain sounded like bad JAMC or MBV imitators. The Manhattan Love Suicides have those chancers beat by a mile because they do have ideas, singer Caroline has a wonderfully fragile and unfailingly tuneful voice, and most importantly, they have songs! Hip-shaking rockers ("Things You've Never Done," the spiky "Evil Side," "Suzy Jones"), fuzzy midtempo ballads ("Crush Whatever," the brokenhearted "Home"), and a psych-pop drone to end things with a well-timed sigh ("Providence") that are all played with a sweet melancholy energy in a perfect balance of pop hooks and distortion. The only slight letdown is the choice to cover Beat Happening's "Indian Summer," as it might have been better to include another original instead. They do turn in a lovely version of Calvin's finest moment, however. The Manhattan Love Suicides may be a nostalgia trip, but they hold their own with the past and their album is a welcome blast of old-school noise pop.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo