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Serena-Maneesh - Why you need some...

Serena-Maneesh

Story by Jack Foley

IN August 2005, a little known Norwegian band going by the name Serena-Maneesh, released their eponymous debut album through Honey Milk Records.

Indie tastemakers Pitchfork heard the album, fell in love and placed it at no. 29 in the year’s top 50 albums (beating Franz Ferdinand by one). Across the pond, Drowned in Sound rated it at no.32 in their polls. Not bad for a record with zero promotion.

Such critical acclaim grew alongside a healthy live following. An appearance at Oya Festival in August 2005 had Playlouder raving that “Serena-Maneesh are the festival’s first and only mindfuck – the one I went several thousand miles hoping I might experience.”

Then came a support slot on the Dandy Warhol’s UK tour, followed by a sold-out show at a 1,000 capacity venue John Dee in Oslo in December and a rock-category nomination for a Norwegian grammy.

At which point Playlouder decided that this is the kind of band they want and need to launch their 2006 digital singles club.

Roll on early 2006 and Serena-Maneesh have taken the States by storm, being – amoung others – NME’s SXSW highlights after ”(turning) Emo’s bbq into a narco haze of red lights and white feedback”.

And the sound? Is it clichéd to say like nothing else? Or perhaps more accurately Serena- Maneesh’s strange melodies are strikingly original, yet also somehow comforting and familiar.

Drain Cosmetics epitomises Serena-Maneesh’s sound. Driving guitar rock and Primal Scream-esque drum rythms blend with distorted samples and a whispering ethereal vocal that weaves in and out as if in a dream.

It’s as much about exploring as it is creating sound and the result is a noise that transcends music and offers an otherworldly atmosphere, as beautifully paradoxical as it is compelling.

Watch the Drain Cosmetics video now