[sic] Magazine

White Manna – Bleeding Eyes

Oooooh! What have we here?! Sure, long-time [sic] favourites White Manna are back with a hotly anticipated new platter, but it’s what they’ve done with it that’s interesting. Following on from last year’s raw and dangerous Pan LP, a cosmic biker-brawl of an album, Bleeding Eyes’ opening title-track both picks up where that record left off and yet still manages to surprise. White Manna usually assault the ears with feedback and fuzz and the first few bars here are fully compliant, but now the band go for the eyes too, strutting proto-punk rooted in tight rock rather than psychedelic meandering, the vocal cleaner too during these opening exchanges than on previous doomed missions. The same tricks aren’t repeated everywhere, but scraping back the scree reveals a remarkably classic lo-fi sound.

Part of a great opening trinity (which includes the whooshing 60s garage of “Trampoline” blasting skywards as if aboard one of the Apollo missions), Bleeding Eyes has a killer closer too, let down only slightly by a soupy middle. You can’t be too critical of a psych-rocker named “English Breakfast” though (it’s just too tempting to think of a side of psilocybin ‘shrooms with your black pudding and fried bread), it and its central companions slowly winding sludgers and oddities that alternately break into weird freak-outs, heavily reverbed oscillations and, of course, pummelling riffs. These are not bad tracks at all; it’s just that ones like motorik monolith “Vimanas” are better. Full of Wooden Shjips-style hypnotism, melting licks drip like Dali’s clocks and, just as you’re about to suffocate, White Manna veer their craft off in the direction of open space.

Closing with a destructive display of force, “Freak” is one step up again. Strap in and feel the Gs rip back your cheeks as the windscreen implodes on take-off, stinging solos and roaring boosters catapulting The Stooges deep in to space; it’s as bracing as it is hallucinatory, sounding entirely like it should having been mastered by Monster Magnet’s John McBain and produced by Phil Manley. White Manna and their Bleeding Eyes are, at this point at least, almost supernaturally good.

Best track: “Bleeding Eyes”

~Bleeding Eyes is out now via the collaborative efforts of Agitated and Cardinal Fuzz.~