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  • Writer's pictureEmily Marshman

REVIEW: "Different State of Mind," the new EP from London-based indie rock risers The Manatees

Over the course of the last year or so, London-based (but Southampton-raised) The Manatees have undergone a massive amount of change. In 2022, the trio released what we all believed to be their final songs as The Manatees, and embarked on a new journey.

In 2023, The Manatees as we knew them returned, and Different State of Mind is the culmination of this new stage of the band's career. They recently flew to Texas to participate in their first South By Southwest, their first time playing on American soil. They've amassed nearly 20,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, and they're playing the biggest shows they've ever played. Different State of Mind even has a vinyl release, and we all know what it takes to get vinyl produced these days. It's clear they're on an undeniable rise right now, and deservedly so.

Opening track "Buttercup" sets expectations for the rest of the EP - though the band may be young, they've cut their teeth, and they know exactly what they want to say. With their signature genre-bending, creeping buildup followed by a chorus made for a sweaty dance floor, it's easy to see why they kept this one up their sleeve as the last single released from this project; it reflects upon what it's like to open yourself up to someone in a relationship, whether that be romantic or platonic, and the difficult position it can put you in. This is something I've noticed The Manatees love to toy with - the idea that the further into someone's reach you step, the more vulnerable you make yourself to hurt, but that you can't truly experience all of life's joys if you keep entirely to yourself. They also continue to make a habit of balancing vulnerability in their songwriting with contradictorily upbeat instrumentals.

Easily the catchiest hook I have ever heard in my life comes from the chorus of "Call You a Criminal": "City lights take me / Spend all the loose change I've been saving up lately / Is it too much to ask for / You to come through? / I'm missing those eyes." They've said this is their poppiest song yet, and it absolutely is, but it's also a fantastic example of the way their own personal style will come through in everything they write.

The rhythm section did not come to play on "Best of Me"; the bass really takes the spotlight in this one, building out the heartbeat of this song, one that really encourages anyone who listens onto their feet and out of their heads. Another example of a tune that hides its true meaning behind its danceability, only revealing itself when you see through to the core of it: "Hypothetically, just insecurity, / Stressed out and I’m looking for some energy, / You don’t see the best of me, best of me."

"February's Cold" is a nice surprise at the end of it all, a tender, tactful song about moving away from home, the distance you sometimes have to put between yourself and the people you love in order to see your dreams realized, and the guilt that can come with that: "She said, This February's cold / I'm scared of ever growing older / The world upon my shoulders / Where did the light go?"

Credit: Luke Shadrick

The Manatees are a completely underrated band, and so worthy of every bit of recognition they have and more. I know this band are going to be huge - I've known since I first found their music in 2020 - and "Different State of Mind" is definitive proof of their talent and the important voice they're lending to their scene, and in my opinion, it couldn't have come at a better time. All four windows rolled down, turned all the way up, cut by the warm springtime wind is the perfect way to experience this EP.

They've recently announced they'll be playing Truck Festival in July, but their headlining tour in April is coming up fast - make sure you get your tickets if they'll be playing near you!

Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, 17th April - Rough Trade Bristol - Bristol, UK

Thursday, 18th April - The Lodge at Deaf Institute - Manchester, UK

Friday, 19th April - Headrow House - Leeds, UK Saturday, 20th April - The Garage - Glasgow, UK

Monday 22nd April – Cluny 2 - Newcastle, UK

Wednesday 24th April – The Sunflower Lounge - Birmingham, UK

Thursday 25th April – Colours - London, UK

Saturday 27th April – The Green Door Store - Brighton, UK


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