White Manna - Pan - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

White Manna - Pan

by Rob Taylor Rating:10 Release Date:2015-06-01

A blazing supernova of sound, the ecstatic abandon of White Manna’s heavy psych-rock makes it yet another brilliant variation to this reinvigorated genre. Swing the proverbial sledgehammer upon its vertical timeline and the reference-marker flies past its contemporaries, the likes of Moon Duo, Verma, Follakzoid, and Wooden Shijps, sounding the bell alongside yesteryear’s hard psych-rock and punk demigods, Hawkwind and The Stooges.

That such a relatively unknown band carves a foothold at the apex of psych/space-rock, and with precocious timing, is astonishing, but White Manna’s Pan blazes onto the front-stage with a sure-footedness earned through graft. This is White Manna’s third long-player, and unknown to me, they’ve been garnering rave reviews for their live efforts at festivals like the Liverpool Psych Fest.

With vocals mixed so far down that the disembodied verbiage becomes literally part of the band’s bottom end, Pan summons the kind of dark temperament that makes you want to party very late into the evening. It’s not your navel-gazing, narcissistic wall-of-sound psych-rock like White Hills (as fun as they are) but something more analogous to Moon Duo with slightly longer hair, louder guitars, and stronger dope. So-called space-rock for kids that need a signpost, but really just underground hard-rock in thrall to Iggy Pop, evolved over repetitive and hypnotic grooves, inculcating the mind and replenishing the soul, removing the male alpha aggression so often a part of punk and heavy rock. 

When White Manna play ‘Evil’, it's the cartoonish little devil that comes to mind, the one with the arrow-point tail, the one boogieing away to Pan’s tranquilised riffage, not the ornery calling of malevolent spirits. Pan is the sound that transforms humans into zombies, locked inexorably and singularly into White Manna’s soundstage for its duration. So intoxicating, you’re instantaneously removed from everyday rigours, and tossed through a kaleidoscope of mixed emotion from which you emerge with that "Earth to Rob, we’ve lost transmission" expression plastered over your ecstatic mug.

Allusions of bliss are always a part of listening to this music. Great music like Pan transcends the task and burns a lasting image onto your cranial hard-drive.

Alongside San Francisco’s Moon Duo, California Uber Alles indeed. A cracker.

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