MANE’s beautifully haunting EP - House of Horror was released in June of 2016, and evokes some tragic and delicate emotions for listeners. It is both fragile and epic, a perfect balance between the two.
The first track of the EP, Bitter, begins with a kick-drum much like a heartbeat, which is heard all throughout the album. The song features a playful bass line played on the piano which is perfectly companioned by entrancing vocal melodies with rocky guitar melodies poking through the mix. The song starts off slow and builds up slowly but surely, leading to a thrilling ambient chorus. The lyrics are powerful, and are about unapologetic-ally being yourself, faults and all.
House of Horror is next and leads with haunting vocals and a delicate guitar riff, laid over the familiar heartbeat kick. A groovy underlying bass line is played on both piano and bass guitar, as well as some deep and velvety backing vocals. This gives the song a lot of depth, while still sounding ambient on the surface. Whilst the track doesn’t feature many instruments, they are mixed in a way that makes the track sound full.
Ashes to The River demonstrates the eerie power behind MANE’s vocals, and the control she holds over the natural vibrato in her voice. The song is simple, with mainly piano and gentle guitar, but still has the same steady pulse as the previous tracks. The track is captivating and gentle, yet powerful. It frequently builds up, and then drops away to a delicate guitar line and ambient vocal melodies. The lyrics are about, as the title suggests, wanting her ashes to taken to the river, rather than being buried in the ground, perhaps so she can eternally be in motion, rather than being held captive by a traditional grave.
Valley of Doubt starts with a bouncy guitar melody, which is followed yet again by the underlying pulse of the album that consists all throughout. Groovy bass lines dominate this track, with a deliciously fat tone that will have your head bopping and your fingers clicking. The track features some gorgeous vocal harmonies, with fuzzy rock guitar tones. Much like the previous tracks, the song builds up to a point of tension, and then releases the listener into ambient vocal lines. This is one of the faster tracks on the record, and is my personal favourite by far.
Violent Love starts off slow and then reveals a folky guitar riff, which sets a fun tone for the song. The song carries the same heartbeat as the rest of the album, but this time is played on what sounds like a bongo, or perhaps a set of coconuts, it almost sounds like horses hooves on cobblestone streets. This gives the track a very old fashioned vibe, almost as if it’s being played in the streets of Europe a hundred or so years ago. It brings to album to a very final conclusion, ending with the same pulse that it started with…
Overall, the EP is both haunting and beautiful all throughout, with playful undertones that sound both ancient, yet youthful, and will leave you hopelessly swaying along with the track and humming timelessly. Producer Jack Hookey did an amazing job with this album, and MANE has definitely created a vibrant masterpiece to be proud of. It leaves you wondering what she will come up with in the future, and wondering what musical genius she is yet to reveal to us.
You can stream the album here: https://soundcloud.com/mane_music/sets/house-of-horrors-ep
Or purchase it here: https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/house-of-horror-ep/1115438799
Review by Ellie Moffatt