Busi­ness as usual for North­ern Cal­i­for­nia heads. Thank­fully.

Prog - - Limelight - RH

White Manna seem to live by that old maxim of not fix­ing any­thing that ain’t broke. The same im­per­a­tives that drove their self‑ti­tled de­but of 2012 – ram­pag­ing space rock, locked riffs, over­driven gui­tars – have now sus­tained the quin­tet over five al­bums. Yet this doesn’t mean they’re stuck for ideas. Rather, their ad­her­ence to the in­tan­gi­ble mys­ter­ies of fuzz‑heavy psychedelia feels like a state­ment of faith, the band ex­plor­ing a rich niche of mu­sic with an am­bi­tious fer­vour that bor­ders on the de­vo­tional. Bleed­ing Eyes, their sixth out­ing, is the kind of howl­ing mind­fuck that aligns them to Carlton Mel­ton and The Black An­gels. Reg­u­lar en­gi­neer Phil Man­ley is at hand, help­ing leader David John­son shape these com­po­si­tions into vast, open‑ended grooves. The dev­il­ish riff of Vi­manas is joined by a vo­cal that sounds beamed in from some dis­tant Cal­i­for­nian moun­tain­top. The ti­tle of Speed Dag­ger is a pretty good in­di­ca­tor of the plea­sures within, as heads‑down Stooges meet Space­men 3. Tram­po­line takes 60s garage rock and bends it through a psy­che­delic lens, while Freak speeds along on a mo­torik rhythm. Breath­less and in­tense, it’s every­thing we’ve come to ex­pect.

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