[sic] Magazine

White Manna – Ape On Sunday

Without context it’d be hard to explain [sic] favourites White Manna taking their foot of their gas as the band’s excellent previous effort was a true assault on the ears, strutting feedback and fuzz bleeding into heavy, suffocating kosmiche. Ape On Sunday is the Arcata, California stoners’ sixth LP and, accordingly, it takes its title from Bob Dylan’s Beat-era experimental prose-poetry book Tarantula. It’s an album also framed by frontman David Johnson’s private family trauma, which goes someway to explaining why it’s so much less tangible.

On the road to emotional recovery we thus encounter lengthy, warped instrumentals with only shadows of their predecessors’ gritty garage left in their veins. Sombre ripples of drums and splashing cymbals follow, Johnson’s mystic vocals reverbed out to infinity. When the fuzz does come, its enveloped in a heavy-hearted, sci-fi inflected whirl through the outer rings, thundering bass only hinting at the destruction of which we know it’s possible. Weirdo synth squiggles and micro-detail menace turn the screw only to then fade away into an oasis of meditative calm on “Zodiak Spree”, the album later closing out with a claustrophobic dose of cosmic blues.

Like many on the curve to acceptance, Johnson and co. didn’t start where they find themselves as the curtain falls though, the opening title-track an altogether more typical kaleidoscopic ebb and flow that oscillates all of the known world beneath its feet. Hypnotic resonance achieved, ticking metronomes and surging distortion melt into a sheet of shimmering, piercing pulses and liquid guitar. There is no spoon, you see, on planet White Manna.

Best track: “Ape On Sunday”

~Ape On Sunday is released June 28th 2019 via Cardinal Fuzz.~