Manifest Destiny Set to Conquer Space, Shore Dive Bars

Band Debuts Nova AlbumĀ at Brighton Bar Weds August 3rd

Coming Out of Hiding
Coming Out of Hiding

Manifest Destiny’s legacy is, to put it mildly, complicated. On the one hand it birthed American expansion, giving us a country bracketed by two oceans and every topography under the sun. On the other hand it also led to murderous results for North America’s native inhabitants, and today the phrase evokes less scenes of rugged frontierism than racially entitled barbarism.

Enter a young Monmouth County band seeking to reclaim the idea – not because they think they’re owed something that isn’t theirs, but as an inspiration to transcend humanity’s present earth-bound condition. “We may have played one too many video games like Stellaris,” bassist Brian Blaney jokes. “But the idea was to take that doctrine and apply it to expansion into the galaxy.” Blaney stresses the non-violence of their application of Manifest Destiny, instead seeking to use the inherent sense of exploration and adventure and marry it to their spacey, ethereal music.

They’ve certainly earned the right to invoke the celestial bodies: together with partner Jeremy Coryell (vocalist and guitarist), the band displays an excellent and meticulous attention to atmospheric detail, recalling Explosions in the Sky and key influence Radiohead. They marry this to a muscular rock attack, however, perhaps owing to the near-decade of experience Blaney has gigging with assorted rock and cover bands. This makes for a great groove, recalling the more thoughtful moments of Red Hot Chili Pepper’s post-millenial work. Add to it Coryell’s welcome gift with melody (an infatuation with Tame Impala and Parachutes-era Coldplay is immediately apparent in some songs) and you have the beginnings of something itching to break new ground.

“Nova” – the title track to the band’s debut mini-album – is an excellent example. It begins as something like space funk oddysey (imagine if Pink Floyd recruited Flea to do a reprise of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond Part V”) before charging into a world of snap-back drums and swirling guitars that recall Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi.” Over all of this Coryell sings like an American Chris Martin, and not merely because of the accent. His natural yearning baritone is as sweet and wounded as Martin’s,but he replaces the inherent British melancholy with an equally natural gruff shout the evokes an eagerness to explore the world and, by extension, find the treasure no one has yet found. It’s an idea that has animated young Americans from Jack Kerouac to (obligatory New Jersey blog alert) Bruce Springsteen to Joan Didion, and it’s a great embodiment of the tone the band captures throughout the release.

Nova was recorded entirely by Coryell and Blaney at home over a one year period. The album can be streamed or downloaded for free.The band now seeks to bring the music to the stage, recruiting drummer Eric Germain and utility man Chris Rott to fill out the sound. If they’re even one tenth as strong as they are on record, this writer would argue that they’re future is more than promising – indeed, their horizons are endless.

Manifest Destiny at Brighton Bar, 121 Brighton Ave, Long Branch @8pm Weds Aug 3.

Jacob deGrammar


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