Up In Flames Double CD
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Up in Flames is Manitoba's second album, following on from 2001's Start Breaking My Heart. Dan Snaith plays guitar, keyboards and glockenspiel, but now he's tired of laptop-generated solo performance and is set to take a full live combo out on the road. Nevertheless, this disc remains an almost completely one-man experience. Mr Manitoba is adept at stirring up a dreamy, psychedelic pop miasma, with the opening "I've Lived on a Dirt Road All My Life" sounding backwards when it's going forwards, its jittery drums rearing up out of a wall-of-mush production. "Skunks" has a full-cream bass line and some ferrety saxophone outbursts emerging from its kaleidoscopic jangle. "Hendrix with KO" is a breezily melodic shuffle and "Jacknuggeted" develops a strummy heat-haze that has electronica patterns streaked across in a watercolour wash. "Every Time She Turns Round, It's Her Birthday" benefits from a distorted split-stereo vocal and "Bijoux" saves all of Snaith's favourite tricks for one glorious shag-pile spill, starting with his tingling glockenspiel, then rolling out the thick organ, acoustic guitar chords, fruity saxophone and an angelic vocal chorus. --Martin Longley
A sprawling, bucolic tour de force, like early Mercury Rev on magic mushrooms -- Paul Mardles, Arena, April 2003
Both adventurous and accessible, a record in love with the obliterating power of sound -- 4/5, John Mulvey, Uncut, April 2003
Bursting with bastardised Merseybeat harmonies and oscilating guitar FX, this album is both stunningly spontaneous and absurdly precocious -- 8/10 Album Of The Month, Paul Clarke, Jockey Slut, March 2003
Quite possibly the best thing out of Canada, since, well, ever. -- 5/5 Album Of The Month, Stephen Worthy, Loaded, April 2003
The work of a music lover, and should appeal to all who consider themselves such... the whole thing satisfies... -- 5/5, Steven Jelbert, X-Ray, March 2003
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a letdown. Comparisons with Four Tet are a little misleading as I don't think the sound is as original or as clean... Read morePublished on 12 Jan. 2005 by S. Hartshorn
Refreshingly original. Perhaps the most original stuff I've heard since the Polyphonic Spree.
If you need a frame of reference on this, it's somewhere between Lemon Jelly and... Read more
The only reason I have given this cd is for the CD of b-sides.
If you are a fan of early fourtet you will love the bonus cd. Read more
How anyone could compare this derivative pap to the likes of My Bloody Valentine or Spaceman 3 is beyond my comprehension. Read morePublished on 26 Jan. 2004
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... Read morePublished on 25 April 2003 by Matt
A beautiful combination of contrasts;
Explossive random sounds and heavy jazz break-beats against beautifully soft and melodic sound scapes. Read more
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. Read morePublished on 9 April 2003