The Manges

Go Down

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The Manges once shared a split EP with the Queers, and the bands sounded so eerily alike that the only way the listener could reliably tell which band played which song was to wait for the vocals to come in: lead singer Andrea Mange's heavily accented, slightly stilted vocals, sadly, aren't a patch on Joe Queer's amiable goofball whine. Go Down, the trio's second full-length album after a full decade of singles and compilation tracks, continues the Manges sound, for better and worse. The better: the Manges could be the most consistently melodic pop-punk band ever, or at the very least they're up there with the Mr. T Experience, and all 14 short, sharp tracks on Go Down are instantly hummable bits of pure bubblepunk goodness. Just as importantly, they're one of those rare pop-punk bands that never make the slide from goofy and irreverent into juvenile shock for its own sake; there's nothing here that the average pop-punk guy would be ashamed to play in front of his girlfriend, assuming he had one. Even the double-entendre title is fairly tame, since it derives from one of the album's two covers, a surprisingly effective and nervy version of Suzanne Vega's antiwar tune "When Heroes Go Down." (The other one's a fairly forgettable Ramones cop.) The worse: not much really beyond Mange's awkwardly stiff vocals, and even those you get used to over the course of the album. Those for whom one Queers is enough can safely give the Manges a pass, but this album is a wholly insubstantial delight.

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