Serena Maneesh have released their much-loved back catalogue through small label Smalltown Supersound. The album is full of remastered and remixed versions of tracks from the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s first two EPs, ZurâˆšÂºck originally released in 1999 and Fixxations released in 2003. The 16 tracks are in chronological order with tracks from ZurâˆšÂºck arranged first, followed by that of Fixxations. The remixed tracks inherent on SM Backwards act to revitalize material that many avid fans have grown accustomed to, and they will act as an eye-opener into the sheer versatility of Serena Maneesh.It can be seen from the progression of the album the development of Serena Maneesh throughout their career to date. ZurâˆšÂºck is much more primitive and less developed than the subsequent follow-up. Its most admirable factor is its experimental progression of sluggish bass drones into more technical riffs; this can be heard in the drawn out instrumental sections of “Leipziger Love Life.”
Fixxations illuminates the level to which the band have stepped up their creativity and flair for the unexpected, although the reworked tracks detract from the overall impact of this EP by applying it to a more traditional rock-based structure to the irregular style more associated with Serena Maneesh. “Drive Me Home the Lonely Skies” is the highlight of the album as a whole, moving the album with a ballad that seems almost fit for conventional radio.
This isnâ€šÃ„Ã´t the most coherent of albums, but as itâ€šÃ„Ã´s basically two EPs superimposed together it was never likely to. Coherence aside, the album shows the virtuosity of Serena Maneeshâ€šÃ„Ã´s dynamic interplay between noise and melody and their ability to intertwine the two into a distorted, melodious, shoegazing piece of brilliance.
SM Backwards is released with the promise of some fresh material in the form of a new album. Until then, admirers of this band of quirky Norwegians are provided with a warm reminder that Serena Maneesh still have a presence in the ever-changing musical climate as well as supplying an insight into the early development of the band.