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12
3.6 out of 5 stars
Up In Flames
Format: Audio CDChange
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2004
Manitoba's 'Up in Flames' is a bold two fingers to the stale electronicascene and a glorious leap forward. Along with Four Tet's 'Rounds' it hasrekindled faith in the one-man-and-his-machine dynamic, dragging thelaptop boffin kicking and screaming out of the bedroom and into apsychedelic love-in free-for-all (metaphorically, anyway). A veritable oneman band, Canadian Dan Snaith has recorded his own 'Private PsychedelicReel' in a bombastic tour de force of 'live' drumming, spools of sax,treated vocal harmonies, wailing guitar solos, sitas and flutes. Asidesfrom the inevitable comparisons and accusations of plagiarism (early Lipsand Mercury Rev have been mentioned, as have MBV), you'll hear nothinglike it this year, from the kaleidoscopic party animal of 'Skunks', to thedrowsy hues of 'Jacknuggeted', and the David Axelrod-meets-Roni Size of'Twins'. Heartfelt and head-hammering at the same time, it's a raw,eccentric triumph.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 1 April 2003
This is an extraordinary album!
I bought Manitoba's debut on the strength of Amazon recommending it to me after I rated Four Tet's 'Pause' highly, and to be honest I was underwhelmed. Sure, it was nice enough electronica, but it didn't have a great deal of spark, and it certainly didn't prepare me for this!
Canadian Dan Snaith has taken the best bits of everything that's ever been good ever and stuck them all together! I've not had such an overwhelming first-hearing reaction to a record as this since I was 17 and heard Orbital for the first time. I was squirming and jerking and smiling and laughing and dancing round the room within minutes.
Imagine, if you will (if you can), The Chemical Brothers mining the legacy of My Bloody Valentine, and downbeat electronica surrendering to Brian Wilson's brand of gorgeous woozy pop music, all rolled together into one cohesive and inspirational 40-minute package!
Big happy clattering drums rub up with multi-coloured guitars, spacey organs, glockenspiels (or xylophones, who knows?), occasional dreamy vocals, sliding clarinets, droning saxophones, all manner of gorgeous found-sound weirdness, beatific electronic passages and even the occasional frog.
I can't implore you enough to go out and buy this record - if you love music, and I mean REALLY LOVE MUSIC, then you ought to love this.
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I bought this on an impulse after some good reviews in the papers. Heralded as an 'everything bar the kitchen-sink' album that should appeal in equal measure to both indie and dance fans, it sounded right up my street.
On first listen, I was a little underwhelmed - there are a lot of summery melodies (birdsong even makes an appearance here and there, but it washed over me a little and it all seemed inconsequential.
However, after a couple more spins at the turntable, it started to grow on me and might now be reasonably filed alongside the likes of Air and Royksopp in the category marked 'dreamy, intelligent pop'. I can now see myself wheeling this album out quite a lot over the summer of 2003.
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on 31 March 2003
Undeniably influenced by the likes of My Bloody Valentine and, most obviously, Spritualized (before they became bloated and pompous) this album could hardly be described as ground breaking. I'm tempted to suggest that the uninitiated would do better purchasing Lazer Guided Melodies but it would be churlish to dismiss a hugely inventive and enjoyable album purely because it is easy to draw comparisons. After all, who is doing anything truly unique at the moment?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Its clear that Daniel Snaith, aka Manitoba, has been digging out a lot of old “shoegazing” records from the early nineties since the laptop glitch-fest of debut “Stop breaking my heart”. There are elements of MBV’s sonic experimentalism with vocals pitched beneath a fuzz of hazy effects and even – whisper it – Chapterhouse whose under-cherished Blood Music lp succesfully exploited the genre’s potential for experimenting with electronic music in the persuit of creating an even denser wall of sound.
To be fair, Leaf Records has always had the tendency to drift away from the perceived boundaries of some of its contemporaries – but this was still a bit of a shock. The closest comparisons I can make is of the Boo Radleys’ Sice attempting to sing Radial Spangle songs under the direction of Four Tet. I realise that for some of you, that description means as much to you as a New Labour manifesto and is just as difficult to comprehend so perhaps I’ll cut to the chase:
Up In Flames is fine summer-music for the 21st century. Clever electronics underpin lovely hazy melodies throughout the album. It never strays far from this underexplored template but highlight tracks like “I’ve lived on a dirt-track all my life”, “Hendrix KO” and single “Jacknuggeted” exemplify that Snaith has stumbled across a winning formula. Of course the next album will be completely different, so seize the moment and invest in the aural equivalent of waking up at 6pm on a sunny day at a festival with the afternoon’s local cider adding to the blissul confusion. That’s meant to be a good thing!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I loved 'start breaking my heart' so when I saw in the shop 'up in flames' I had to buy it.
I noticed the stickers on the case with glorious reviews from the music press which seemed rather strange. I could not imagine music like 'start breaking my heart' commanding widespread appeal from the music press.
In short if you're coming from listening to 'start breaking my heart' and want to hear music developed on from that, do not bother buying 'up in flames' as you will be well disapointed, but if you like lot's of jangly guitars and strange noises and samples, as whole reminiscent of 90's indie music, go for it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2003
I bought this after an approving review in Uncut and I must say that it was better than I had imagined. This is the best new album I've heard this year so far.
Manitoba mixes dance, psychedelic rock, electronica and throws in a sample from The Millenium and a bit of free jazz for good measure!
It all works out very fine indeed and even if this is original I have to mention a few reference points; think My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, Mercury Rev and Spiritualized. If you like these, I suggest that you make a new acquaintance. Manitoba is worth your love.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2003
A beautiful combination of contrasts;
Explossive random sounds and heavy jazz break-beats against beautifully soft and melodic sound scapes.
If you like FOUR-TET then this album should be your next essential purchase of this year.
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7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2003
In a fit of passion (for new music) I recently spent my last tenner on this record by Manitoba that has been garnered with the most lavish of praise from all quarters of the music press. Disappointed? That doesn't even come close. 'Like early Mercury rev' they say, 'in the same camp as the Flaming lips' , 'elements of aphex twin'......it's all lies. I listened to the album again and again - seeking out the nuggets of genius that I had been told were abound. I was left completely underwhealmed - the songs float whimsically in and out without ever taking flight for long enough to be engaging. This would be fine if this was a proper ambient album - but it's pretentions are far greater. But just as it lacks the beauty of ambient records it also lacks the balls of a dance record - Bass sounds and other important elements are consistently too low in the mix...even at high volume this record lacks any kind of punch.
The lyrics are completely devoid of any meaning or any warmth, but even worse is the fact that they are cut and layered and repeated to such an extent that you get the impression that they're supposed to mean something...
Sort of like the polyphonic Spree on a really bad trip which has made them lose their sense of humour and the ability to play their instruments.
Altogether very poor...I'm sure that I've heard better music coming from the bedrooms of countless teenage dance producer wannabe's....
save your last tenner for something else.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2005
What a letdown. Comparisons with Four Tet are a little misleading as I don't think the sound is as original or as clean...almost like too many ideas thrown into each track - gets very messy in parts. Indecipherable lyrics and background noise towards the end of each track permeates this album. In my opinion, this sounds much more like Automatic by The Jesus and Mary Chain - but not quite so tuneful (possibly more akin to Psychocandy). I wouldn't be so irate if it weren't for the 'rave' reviews this has been given, I rate it average at very best...if you are thinking about this purchase, listen to a sample first!
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