20 Sep 2019

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Manzo - Album Review: Attachment

01 Jul 2019 // A review by Peter-James Dries

The modern music industry has embraced the practice of style over substance for a while now.

We could blame streaming, the Netflix generation, or the entitled psychopaths we’ve bred through inattentive parenting, as required by dual income house-holding. But it was already happening before these darkening end times. Look at 90's pop, or 00's hip-hop. Pretty people, glossy clothes, catchy beat, but nothing underneath.

In a world where your meal ticket is a single that’s cheap to make and has some kind of hook to snare the attention of the unthinking masses there is no time for substance. If the reward is the same, why put in the effort?

This is capitalism manifest. The end goal of lazy efficiency. The final solution to the ageless question “how do I get the most profit from the smallest investment?”

As one of those at the bottom middle of the money pile, I feel a discontentment for this world we’ve created, and are proceeding to destroy. I get the same feeling from Manzo’s new album Attachment. A feeling of being disillusioned by the world the older generations unwittingly created in the pursuit of freedom and profit. I can hear it in the thoughtful, clever lyrics. I can feel it in the blatant disregard for the second long attention spans – a lot of work has gone into this album.

Bleak though it is through these nostalgic glasses, there is an underlying optimism here. Perhaps it’s in the fact of this album’s existence. Against every adversity Manzo is here making music, which farts in the very face of a profiteering industry. Perhaps it’s in the positivity of the closing track Smiley Face. The escapism of the reggae jaunt Big Kid.

Colourful. No, that’s not my synaesthesia flaring up again. Attachment feels like a painting with layers of notes forming brush strokes. A colourful collaborative mural on the brick in the wall that is the standard verse-chorus song construction. The intricate layered construction feels like a visual artist seeping into the aural world. That half Pink Floyd reference was intentional. There’s a bit of The Wall smudged across parts of this artist’s palette.

Actually, it’s a pretty filthy palette. In contrast to the companion EP, Beatniks on Toast, which is more of a bluesy rock band experience (mostly), Attachment is a treatise on experimentation. A love letter to exploring one’s creativity. A mirror to the modern world with its mixing of technology and fragile humanity. There are bluesy licks accompanied by electronica. There is rap next Beatles era lyricism. There’s dubstep of all bloody things mixed with classical piano. It’s a flower on a circuit board. Life growing in a simulated world. Yet, where crayon would be jarring on a watercolour, everything is mixed in so well here I feel no urge to suspend my disbelief.  

This is the work of artists, and with that transcends the medium of music and enters the lofty and ethereal realm of art. It edges the world of computer precision yet retains an imperfect human quality with the one tracked vocals over looped sections.    

Now my copy of the titular Attachment ended mid-sentence. Intentional or not, it’s an apt allegory. Attachment illustrates the monotony of office life, and the breaking of that cycle with the rest of the album is how the style, substance, and passion of the album breaks through the shit music we wade through. It’s like no other album you’re going to hear this year.

Yes. You can offer both style and substance, as the collective Manzo have demonstrated here, but in this world where a kid with a laptop Attachment will never get the plays it deserves. Too much effort went into this album for it to be ignored. I urge, nay implore you to listen. To find a comfortable space away from your social media, your emails, your office job and listen. Listen and breathe. Live.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Manzo

Manzo is the musical alias of outsider artist, Alan Hodgetts. Alan has never been shy about experimenting, using any medium or channel to communicate his ideas. Music gives him a popular platform to share his observations and social commentary, whilst providing greater opportunity for collaboration.

Originally signed to the Southern Collective label. Manzo is now a self releasing artist under his own label Manzo Music a member of the Music managers Forum NZ & Independent Music NZ.

Manzo will shortly be announcing the release date of his third studio album Attachment. It’s been a relentless, year-long project, culminating in an 11 track album, with a 4 track companion EP Beatniks on Toast.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Manzo


Year: 2019
Type: Album
Beatniks On Toast
Year: 2019
Type: EP
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Year: 2016
Type: Album

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