Hidden in plain sight

While Manhole Cover isn't a Googlenope, it's pretty close. This album is for sale on Amazon sites around the world . . . and that's about it. I'm not stunned, as this experimental electronic-ish pop (think late-80s Peter Gabriel with a liberal dash of the Art of Noise) isn't exactly sticky ear candy. But what it lacks in immediate accessibility is makes up for with style and impressive construction.

Manhole Cover
Music for the Mostly Impatient
(790710 Records)

These songs come together in pretty spectacular ways. Harsh rhythms, synth washes, squalling guitar (or synthesized guitar sounds) and the occasional bit of vocals. Spin for a moment, and then let ferment into a different creature altogether. In many ways, this is a jazz approach to pop music. Though I am using "pop" in a much broader context than usual, of course.

Each piece introduces a number of ideas, and by the end they make sense. This isn't hook-hook-hook-soaring chorus-hook stuff; it's a lot more sophisticated and rugged. Ears are challenged. Minds are melted.

So, yeah, this one is for the adventurers. But fear not, my friends. This is one of those trips that seems foreboding only at the outset. By the end of your journey you will be easing ever-deeper into the comfy chair, trying like mad to hit the repeat button. Exceptional.

Jon Worley

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