It is not that we have suddenly become Baptist Christians, «God Bless The Maness Brothers» (Romanus Records, 2020) is the title of the last work that this «brotherly couple» has released barely three months ago from their lair in the south of St. Louis (Missouri) , in the heart of the North American Midwest, where the Mississippi becomes beast and justice. And to do justice they are here. Justice to the spirits of their ancestors and » bring rock and roll to the forefront of the promised land «, as they claim.
I met brothers Jake (drums and vocals) and David Maness (guitars and vocals) by chance, searching. I had never listen to them, but… ‘blessed providence’!
Maness brothers were separately involved in their projects, until 2012 they decided to create their own band with which to delve into the sounds of their land, to the roots of more naked and palpitating rock blues.
When they still were kids, while they soaked with endless listen to Jimi Hendrix and Canned Heat’s records, and influenced by musicians from the local scene of their native St. Louis, brothers sharpened their musical weapons of mass ruckus.
From 2012 they built a reputation on the local scene by playing unceremoniously, and they recorded some songs included in local bands compilations, until they managed to edit their first album («Grief factory «, 2012. Brutal!).
Besides, Jack and Dave are collaborating in the activation of musical and cultural life of St. Louis organizing concerts and an established rock and blues festival, the WHISKEY WAR FESTIVAL.
Point out that for the recording of their new album, they had counted on the production of Carl Nappa (who has worked with people such as Wicleaf Jean, Phil Ramone, Alan Parsons,…). Nappa is a fan of the duo and he got completely involved in the recording. The expected result has been the best sounding album recorded by the band so far (they say it themselves).
And yes, there is a big change regarding to a more low-fi concept that prevailed in the previous recordings of the duo. «God Bless The Maness Brothers» has much more compact sound without losing an ounce of a live show spirit by the band. This has been one of the objectives in this work.
In «God Bless The Maness Brothers» the border duo ride to different blues’ path, stressing in the hill country blues with an energy, passion and innate fervor in them.
Electricity in guitars and wild hard-beating drums (in fact, Jack played in a doom metal band) merge to build a sound that they label «heavy rock blues», with intense effluvia of southern rock, but where other «musical concepts» fit perfectly, more dark and muddy.
To get an idea about their music, they could be a bastard born from the crossbreeding between ZZ Top and Jon Spencer cheered by Jack White during mating (yesssss!). Somebody place them on the Black Keys’ wavelength, but I think the Maness Brothers are more animal and heartfelt that the Keys. They are more intuitive, and guided by their own nature, rooted to the core in the Mississippi.
In «God Bless The Maness Brothers» are all this. Blazing songs that they are sung with a very child intensity such as «Drive me » and «Pain«. Or the incendiary and cyclical slide in «Solid Gold Spine» (pure electrified Otharian hill country blues that would delight Jack White), and «I’m Gone» that is on the same wavelength and with a recognizable influence ZZ (in this song, the erotic-festive meeting are place, and the «engendramiento «, Hahaha! A gas!!)
Rhythms and melodies that lead to head banging and stomping, «Get In Line» with this hypnotic backing vocals, and «Tupelo» are sick! (I’m crazy for the tempo change that darken and «doomify» it).
«Boreas» is brutal, they are a aftertaste to the music of bearded Texans. And they even flirt with gospel which is warmly embraced by the blues in «Did My Sins (In The River)«. They are not leftovers in «God Bless The Maness Brothers».
If they wanted pay tribute to their ancestors of hill country blues, don’t worry brothers, because Mississippi Fred, Junior K. and «Rural» are (where they are) toasting their health with a bottle of bourbon to celebrate it.
Besides, they get to revitalize the genre by dewing into its origins and spirit. EVOLUTION BY REGRESION. Great!
Essential band! One of the most exciting discoveries of the last year.