Texas Platters

Phases and Stages


(Super Secret) Nothing quickens the pulse like a good rock & roller coaster ride on a previously unknown punk band. Tempo is one thing, potential everything else. That Manikin's debut hurtles through its first half like a noir sedan in the city of sin is exhilarating. Opening with "The Sleeper," the local trio sets a salacious mood, the bassline surfing a beach ditty that sold its soul to New Wave -- dark, echoed, glam vocals, and piercing guitar runs. And doomed love, what else? Pulp lyrics spell plastic humanity. "The Manikin," a reoccurring paranoia, barges in next on Pretenders' thuggishness, while "Kick You" goes for the shins. "American," then, rams Manikin home: balls-out Stooges, a desperate assassination attempt on the mall monarchy, you and me, "the REPLICANTS." Nineties Brit thumpers Compulsion couldn't have blackened that eye any better. Sadly, Manikin loses most of its luster on the back end, unraveling somewhat into de rigueur Gilman Street pogo punk ("the Stalker," "Culturecide"), but Pixies-ish closer "I Don't Know" only shows more promise, especially with its arty, loose amp chord dissonance. A better single or EP perhaps, but it's local debuts like this that have you fumbling for the music listings to see which dive they're playing.

** .5

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