August 23, 2020

The Spinanes - Manos (1993)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Indie Rock
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© 1993 Sub Pop
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares
It's not hard to hear why the Spinanes became the first band on an indie label to top CMJ's charts with their 1993 debut. Manos is so exposed, and so assured, that it couldn't help but strike a chord with listeners. Consisting of just Rebecca Gates' guitars and vocals and Scott Plouf's drumming, the Spinanes' debut is remarkably eloquent and complex. On its first two songs, the duo demonstrates a range that bands with bigger lineups would love to call their own: With its inviting acoustic strumming and the velvety warmth of Gates' voice, "Entire" immediately draws listeners into the Spinanes' world and sets them apart from the grunge masses. When they crank up the volume on the fiery "Noel, Jonah and Me," the contrast between the heavy riffs and drums and Gates' quiet confidence as she murmurs "did you give up punk for lent?" is far more sophisticated than the work of many of their contemporaries.
The rest of Manos showcases Plouf and Gates' intuitive interplay, which often feels like a secret language the two of them created. "Epiphany" builds to a climax so powerful, it sounds like the work of a band twice their size; "Manos" lunges, leaps, crashes, and tumbles in hypnotic and unexpected ways; and "Spitfire"'s staccato blasts of guitar and drums are almost tangible. Even on the album's prettiest and most immediate songs, like "Sunday," the Spinanes go beyond the predictable. They toss some dissonance into "Basement Galaxy"'s lullaby melody, while "Grand Prize"'s mix of cooing harmonies, churning rhythms, and politically minded lyrics reflects just how ambitious their music was from the start. Though the Spinanes took their sound in more polished directions later, Manos' inventiveness and intimacy makes it a special album not just within their body of work, but within '90s indie rock as a whole.

tags: the spinanes, manos, 1993, flac,