Grasping for something new
Right now, perhaps more than any other moment in history, it is agonizingly difficult to uncover something new. Worst of all, this sentence will be more true tomorrow than it is today, and it will be more true the instant it is read than it was in the instant it was published. The positive interpretation of this situation is that people are creating more new things than ever before, but unfortunately, originality has effectively become an impossibility. Manslaughter 777 is, without a doubt, aware of this conundrum, and are themselves intimately familiar with it. Their latest project, World Vision Perfect Harmony, sees them admirably battle back against the tides of what has come before, but like many of their peers, they too are swallowed up by the sea of endless influence.
On could say that most of music’s quality comes from one of two criteria: ambition and execution. In fact, proper criticism generally hinges on the way in which they are balanced (along with honest critical bias for and against certain styles). This is what separates the opinion of one critic from another. This particular voice tends to lean towards ambition; there are plenty of well-executed albums out there, they are not of great interest unless they have something to say. Manslaughter 777 presents a odd conundrum in that their ambition is ambition, and therefore the execution can only be judged on whether or not it separates itself from other, slightly similar modes of music.
To present a direct criticism of how they handled this self-assigned task, and whether or not they pulled it off, one could only say—kind of? The opening track, “No Man Curse,” is a manic clattering of noise and smooth synths pulled straight out of a Gang Gang Dance track, so that’s a no, but “ARC” comes soon after, which utilizes the legendary Amen Break and then smashes it into something that no other band has done. The latter half of the song further brutalizes the iconic drum loop, leaving it bloodied and bruised, guts strewn about the asphalt. It’s a glorious sight to see for those who are more inclined toward musical extremities.
This push-pull dynamic continues throughout the record. “I Can Not Tell You How I Feel” again leans on the Gang Gang Dance synths, but adds a touch of Amnesia Scanner’s rattled, soulless vocals to round it out. The track is actually rather enjoyable on a base level and is perfect for rainy afternoons spent on a patio. “Gainax” absolutely nails the “new” angle. It’s jungle-influenced beats and absolutely busted sound palette are tremendously engaging, though the structure leaves a bit to be desired. Techno influence again rears its head on “What Is Joke To You Is Dead To Me,” but “Mag Tech” kicks down the door to originality once again with booming synth roars and inventive usage of the drum machine. “Do You Know Who Loves You,” the closing track of the album, is a mish-mash of all that preceded it, but in being this, it becomes the best track on the album.
Ultimately, World Vision Perfect Harmony is agonizingly close to success, and may be the closest one could hope to get to success when straining for true originality. It’s a compelling, worthwhile journey that, while suffering from a slight few missteps and some overly identifiable influences, manages to compellingly craft an engaging soundscape that is barely recognizable to all but the most seasoned of listeners.