Quirky music-folk always catch the attention of the contributors here in Goldenplec towers so it’s no surprise that this is the second time in just over a week that the work of Myles Manley and The Little People is getting a mention. Last week, our own Stephen Byrne chose it for Plec Picks while this week we have been listening to their nine track album ‘RocknRoll Vicar/RocknRoll Priest’ .
Outlandishly interesting front man Manley is truly something to behold; his waif-like appearance and whimsical deportment herald the bizarre stars of the ’80s, back when weird was cool. The music he creates with his band of ‘Little People’ intertwines perfectly with his stylishly strange demeanor; Moorish and moody with a certain impish quality brought on by a seemingly imperfect production which adds a charming quality to the tracks.
The album opens with I Pay to Play to You, an intense number in which Manley’s voice reverberates over distorted guitar and unharmonised backing vocals. It is a strangely beautiful burst of a song at only 2 minutes in which the listener is merely given a taste of what is to come. The song is revisited towards the end of the album when it is given a much clearer treatment; the lyrics are easier to hear yet it is somehow more menacing.
Throughout the album we are treated to a variety of songs which cannot be placed into any popular genre that may have been circulating the airwaves as of late. Many of the tracks are hypnotising, most notably Sleep Junkie. In this track, Manley’s whining vocal is purposefully delivered slightly out of tune over a trudging instrumental combination of a repetitive down-strum, barely audible drumbeat and an echoing ditty on the guitar. It is a quiet number, one of the most intriguing yet relaxing on the album, greatly contrasted to Gotta Get Out of The Country. This has a much more upbeat feel to it than most of the songs on the short album. It stands out because it is the one song that veers towards the pop end of the music spectrum with a sing-along chorus and catchy beat.
Another notable song is Easter Morning which has an incessant reverb to the vocals that seems to work well with the absorbing drumbeat. This song has an addictive quality; whether due to the potentially controversial nature of the song and video or the need to listen a few times to fathom the lyrics remains to be seen.
This is not the most jaw-dropping or ground breaking collection of songs you will come across but the talent is obvious. Myles Manley and The Little People are not interested in pandering to the masses, nor are they bothered with commercial image or overly tweaked music. This album is so cleverly crafted it gives the impression that it was thrown together on a whim; such is the overall image of the band, particularly the front man. Since the release of his video for “I F*** your Wife” people have been wondering if Manley is serious or if he just taking the proverbial and seeing what reaction he can get. If this album says anything to go by, it is clear that, although he may seem disjointed from what you might call ‘the norm’, he is deadly serious in his bid to infiltrate the Irish music industry.