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With a name like the Charles Manson Experiment you'd think it was 1985 all over again and you'd stumbled over a psychotic punk band enthralled by GG Allin and the grubby-ink pages of Maximum Rocknroll. Fear not, it's Sydney 2008 and this local rock band have been recently calling themselves the Mansons – which is a vast improvement if they want to have a few more people check out their wares. And heck, it's the music that matters, not the name!
Blood, Love and Rhetoric is a seven-tracker led by Cassady Maddox and Dereck Cannon, who both supply the lead vocal and guitar duties. They take turns singing the dark, fuzzed up rockers with lyrics that are both gloomy and uplifting at the same time. Maybe it's because the songs have such strong melodies and the arrangements are full of the right sort of riffs that make me think these guys have got something special going on.
As good as these recordings are – and they rock! – I reckon it's up on stage that the Mansons would definitely impress. I can visualise the opening track 'Never Help Anyone' live and can see the fans going mental until hometime. On these recordings, Cassady and Dereck are backed up by Amelia Reid on the bass and Reuben James on the drums with some help from Stoltz on keyboards. The band is tight but not so over-rehearsed they sound lifeless and boring.
Highlights for me are 'Latchkey Kid', 'The Creep Crawler', 'Infinite Plus One' and 'Good Cop Bad Cop'. Then there's the very poppy 'Unmanned Canyon' just to show that they can slip a bubblegum-coloured dress on as well as the black leather. The Mansons can be found lurking around the Sydney inner-city suburb of Newton. Blood, Love and Rhetoric was recorded at Damien Gerard in 2007 and produced by Andrew Beck and the Mansons. Check out their myspace page for upcoming gigs.
We'll leave you with some lyrics from 'Latchkey Kid': And they will die of malnutrition, die of starvation, and we will take their place. - ND