THE MANIACS - The Maniacs

The Maniacs - The Maniacs

12 songs
32:41 minutes
***** ***
Against ‘Em All


With a record label whose name would be fitting for a crust punk company, and a cover artwork that has a certain arty feeling to it, the prospective listener will definitely not know what to expect when they have a first go at The Maniac’s eponymous debut longplayer. The opener Crash combines muscular alternative rock with a snotty punk delivery, all of this in two and a half minutes. With three quarter of the tracks running under three minutes, it’s clear from the outset that this Milan based three-piece has no need to pad their music with unnecessary clutter. Instead you get simple, straightforward sort-of punk rock songs that are firmly rooted in Nineties alt rock, staying clear from any commercial kind of modern day punk.

The Maniacs are still a young band, and it shows. Their compositions sometimes waver, seemingly not knowing what direction to take, but the guys make up for that with their youthful, nonchalant performance. Although no songs manages to stand out by itself, this good half hour long CD can entertain from the first to the last note. A special treat is the cover version of the Eighties song that must have inspired the band name. Michael Sembello’s Maniac was a prime example of a one-hit-wonder, nowadays only known from the soundtrack of the movie Flashdance. It’s a credit to the band that their rendition never tries to belittle the original, instead giving it a contemporary rock vibe. Especially the powerful vocals, a strong point throughout the album, instil a pleasant kind of punch.

The three young Italians should be anything but ashamed of their self-titled debut album. It may not be very long, and certainly also not really original, but its innocent yet unabashed nature transform a seemingly just another punk rock record into something which conveys an enchantment and charm that only the spirit of youth can provide. The Maniacs have made their stand, and it is to be hoped that the future will have us seeing and hearing more from these guys.

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