Strong reviews for Norwegian shoegazers Serena-Maneesh as they are poised for the release of their debut album in the UK and a summer of festivals.
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Serena-Maneesh have released their debut self-titled album which has been described as "eleven songs that slide down a razor’s edge of distortion and pop whimsy, raucous guitar work and underwater static, angelic voices and primal screams. The strange melodies are strikingly original, yet they strike to the heart of something familiar: a classic rock guitar lick, a wound, a kiss."
Late June sees the release of the hyped noise/shoegazer outfit’s self titled debut album through new indie label Playloudrecordings
Serena-Maneesh say they are as much about exploring sound as crafting song: "Working in both horizontal and vertical layers, head musician Emil Nikolaisen creates tuneful paradoxes, infinite yet time-bound. His meticulous compositions balance whispery female vocals and underlying violin with driving guitar rock, distorted samples, and chant-like repetition."
The album was completed in half a year in various cities such as Chicago, (at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio), Oslo, New York City and Stockholm. It was mixed by, among others, Martin Bisi (Swans, Sonic Youth) and Nikolaisen employed several of his sisters (Elvira and Hilma), friends (Sufjan Stevens and Daniel Smith of the Danielson Famile), and musicians Lina Holström on female vocals, Eivind Schou on violin, Sondre Tristan Midttun on guitar, and Tommy Akerholdt on drums.
The band will appear at both the Reading and Leeds festivals this summer.
Writes NME’s Hardeep Phull in the mag’s 8/10 review of Serena-Maneesh’s self-titled debut album: “The sonic cathedral is looking a bit crowded these days so hoarding FX pedals and attempting to sound like a hormonal whale doesn’t seem as interestingly out-of-step as it would have three years ago. Aware of this, Norwegian five-piece Serena-Maneesh merely use the noisy-bliss of My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth as a primary building block efore layering their own wonderfully dark psychosis over the top. The mesmerizing ‘Candlelighted’ is an intense krautrock nightmare, while at the other end, the drumkit dynamics of ‘Selina’s Melodie Fountain’ and ‘Behiver II’ pound the brain so relentlessly that you can virtually feel a seizure coming on. Shoegazing in origin, barn-storming in conclusion.”
Writes the Independent in its album review: “Serena-Maneesh are Norwegian drone-rockers with obvious affinities with the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Sonic Youth and suchlike psychedelic explorers. Accordingly, there's a premium on texture and timbre over melody. But the sheer delirium of their swirling space-rock will have you projecting your own mental light-show during tracks like "Candlelighted", which has a Can-like persistence. Elsewhere, "Beehiver II" builds up a Jesus & Mary Chain-ish feedback cacophony, while the glacial swells of "Her Name Is Suicide" offer a calmer, more sinister aspect of their approach. A welter of friends including avant-rock violinist Eivind Schou and Sufjan Stevens (on flute and marimba) bring an even greater density and variety to this splendid debut.”
In addition to the publication’s album review, NME awards Serena-Maneesh a rave live review in the Radar Live section. Writes Nathaniel Cramp on the outfit’s late May gig at London’s The Legion: “If ever a band looked like they might be moments away from burning down a church, it’s Norwegian noise bastards Serena Maneesh. Mainman Emil Nikolaisen is part Johnny Depp in Pirates Of The Caribbean, part Jimi Hendrix, while his bass-mangling younger sister Hilma is a 6ft 6inch mix of Nico and Joey Ramone, Tonight, though, the Stooge-rock stormtroopers are content to merely blow new-shoe showcase Sonic Cathedral’s roof off.
Make no mistake, this is a band worthy of worship, and it’s hard to think of another new band so unconcerned with being like, yet consequently, ho are quite so likeable, A case in point is opener ‘Selena’s Melodie Fountain’: six minutes of bludgeoning riffs with a wisp of ethereal vocals that sounds like Queens Of The Stone Age being covered by ‘Sister’-era Sonic Youth with Bilinda Butcher from My Bloody Valentine singing.
Visceral, exciting, deafening and just an itsy-witsy bit frightening: Serena-Maneesh are all that and more. “
To coincide with the band’s UK launch, a new site has been put up. You’ll find the site that offers previews, new videos as well as a competition that gives you the chance to see the band live at this summer’s Leeds and Reading Festivals here.