2018 has been a good year for, if nobody else, Redneck Manifesto fans. As the band celebrate 20 years of their distinct brand of instrumental rock with a very special anniversary gig in Vicar Street, they’ve only gone and sweetened the deal with a brand new record. The How is the six-piece’s first full length release since 2010’s Friendship and finds The Rednecks in fine fettle. Where too many acts occupying a similar generic space appear to be partaking in an interminable crescendo arms race, The Redneck Manifesto have long since realised the (at best) drudgery and (at worst) emotional dishonesty inherent in that approach. In essence, where many of their contemporaries would zig and then zig and then zig again but louder, The six-piece have made their name by finding satisfying ways to zag.
Over the course of The How’s runtime the entire group keep admirably busy, finding ways to make themselves useful without drifting in into simultaneous solo territory. As displayed over their many side projects, the personnel involved here are happy to dabble in variety of divergent sub-genres and that experience is obvious as the tracks wander further from their central riffs or themes. Synth lines in particular drop in and out with subtle hints of musical worlds beloved by the obscurist crate digging set – fleeting nods to Talk Talk, deeply funky Egyptian belly dancing records and Mulatu Astatke abound. Lithe yet brawny, groovy but wholly unpredictable – this is some primo post-rock that never fades into the background.
Words: Danny Wilson
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