Emerging from the vital local punk/hardcore/emo scene, Maneuvers released their debut EP, Soothing Sounds of Sirens, earlier this year. At six tracks totaling over 26 minutes, the disc is anything but brisk. The band apparently aspires to an epic, stadium sound along the lines of that produced by Led Zeppelin. While they fall short of this aspiration, their record does hold promise.
Based in Underhill, Maneuvers are composed of guitarist-vocalist Paul Comegno, bassist-vocalist Jeff Foran and drummer Urian Hackney. Although they cite artists such as Fugazi, At the Drive-In and “the Zep” among their primary influences, I find myself holding Maneuvers to a standard set by three-piece rock legends: trios such as Cream, Rush, The Minutemen and The Jam. It would be ludicrous to expect a band of Maneuvers’ youth to exhibit the musical heights of these groups now, of course, and it is not a slight to say that they don’t. At this point, their main weakness is a reliance on the tired conventions of modern punk and hardcore. But the band exhibits the potential to join the power-trio pantheon someday. The scope of their music is broad, and their songs, for the most part, are not limited to conventional verse or chord structures. When segments do reoccur, these players manage to reinvent them.
Maneuvers’ are impressively creative and deftly perform their songs. Their darkly poetic lyrics are ambitious, too, though the band sometimes overreaches in an attempt to be evocative and grand — Maneuvers might be the first group I’ve heard employ the word “tenebrous.”
Criticisms aside, Maneuvers have talent and are a band to watch. See for yourself this Thursday, March 20, at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge with Waiting for a Miracle and Of All Things, and again at Club Metronome on Thursday, March 27, with local greats The Breaking In and The Cave Bees.