The Manges

The Manges 'R' Good Enough

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Although pop-punk groups are a dime a dozen in 2002, the genre still has a lot of gas left in the tank. Some bands do put the effort into sticking out from the rest of the pack, and one of those bands is Manges. The cooler-than-thou vocals and old-school songwriting make for a more interesting approach, while the overall presentation brings to mind the hipster aesthetic of '70s New York punk. "I'm a Monkey" is a high-energy assault that lovingly recalls the Ramones' Too Tough to Die era, starting the album with a great song and setting the mood perfectly. "I'll Take You to Hawaii" has a bit of the ringing guitar work and stop-and-start approach of the Strokes mixed into the songwriting, while "Miss Evil" is a smooth and confident song that is a hit single just waiting to happen. Even a cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Goonies 'R' Good Enough" is pretty great, featuring the attitude-rich vocals of Kitty Kowalski. Nothing here hasn't been done before, but this time it's being done with the Manges' distinctive stamp on the songs. The Manges' first full-length for Stardumb is an excellent introduction to a band that has its sights on making great punk rock, pure and simple.

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