Manifesto

Manifesto

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Singer/guitarist Michael Hampton started out in the protean D.C. hardcore band State of Alert, best known as the group Henry Rollins left to join Black Flag. In the '80s, Hampton helped invent emo as Ian MacKaye's creative foil in the short-lived but extremely influential Embrace. Hampton then spent the early '90s with former Embrace drummer Ivor Hanson and bassist Bert Queiroz in Manifesto, an altogether poppier affair. Despite the trio's punk and emo credentials, Manifesto owes most of its sound to English and Scottish jangle poppers of the C-86 generation and after, especially the Vaselines and the Pastels. The choice of producer for their sole album, 1992's Manifesto, is John A. Rivers, an inspired idea. Rivers' trademark clean, chorused production adds a bit of British indie jangle gloss to what in less capable hands might be a much less striking set of tunes. Subtle keyboard gloss enhances some of the album, but the production never even veers close to slick; it merely leavens Hampton's typically intense and emotional songwriting. Though followers of some of Hampton's earlier bands might find Manifesto just a little on the wimpy side, this is a solidly constructed and really catchy album that's at least the equal of Embrace's better-known work.

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