Manic Expressive, the follow-up to Her Space Holiday's bedroom electronica epic Home Is Where You Hang Yourself, establishes Marc Bianchi as a brilliant producer in league with Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields and gives the term IDM, or intelligent dance music, new meaning. Like Kid A's little brother, Manic Expressive pops and gurgles through spacey, multi-textured compositions. The layering of keyboards, beats, and orchestration illuminates Bianchi's approach to the music, that of a producer as opposed to a songwriter, and shows his ability to create mind-expanding sounds like Radiohead and Spiritualized on a comparably negligible budget -- no small feat to say the least. But, whereas Kid A is a cold affair that explores the isolation of emotions in an increasingly technology-driven world, Manic Expressive is all warm tones and amber waves. "Lydia" has a sleepy groove that sounds a lot like Momus circa Voyager. And want to talk riffs? "The Ringing in My Ears" builds on a string progression that could be Bach. Bianchi knows how to do the grandiose, and "Hassle Free Harmony" pulls out all the stops and ascends heavenward: "I used to think the world was round until I filled myself with sound," sings Bianchi. Ground control to Major Marc, you've really made the grade.
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AllMusic Review by Charles Spano