The Manifest’s fourth member is a drum machine affectionally known as Joelene. This quirk is indicative of two things. The Manifest’s music embraces technology (synthesised keys, percussion etc.), and that the band rejects the ego.
There is no hierarchy. Each member is valued equally importantly. Even, and on new single ‘Without You’ perhaps especially, Joelene.
The kick-drum bashes away with a jackhammer’s thunderous consistency during the song’s opening moments. The other band members – the remainder of which are humans – do well to keep within reach.
Kick-drum aside, the lack of a formal fronting presence within the band makes for a pleasantly even production. Vocals are treated reservedly, like any other instrument featured.
Elements of dream pop and shoegaze are apparent. Layered musical fragments blend into a punch-drunk smorgasbord of tumultuous keyboards and distantly portentous guitars. Yet the entire presentation is paradoxically uplifting; vocal harmonies jubilant.
Yearning vocals – ‘I’m so lost without you’ – swell both triumphantly and wearily. A contrast is at play. The longing conclusion to each chorus is downtrodden, but the consistent rising in volume as these words are sung indicates more than just a scintilla of hope.
What The Manifest does well is a balancing act. They remain restrained but emotive. Their sound is dense but uncluttered. No one, besides Joelene perhaps, overplays. And it’s this equilibrium that allows The Manifest to maintain symmetry throughout this precise new single.