I heard from Mike Gintz of Clawjob about reviewing this cd after I reviewed The Serious Genuises record last month. The bands are friends and Mike was charmingly self-deprecating, plus it's not like the ol' inbox is clogged with bands dying for me to spout off about their stuff. He described the record as 'a concept record about 19th century life and people shitting all over each other (metaphorically, of course)' which I sort of hoped was a joke, despite my secret masochistic desire to hear a bastard offspring of GG Allin and Henry Steele Commager.
Manifest Destiny arrived in the mail and my heart sank when I discovered that they were a two piece band. You may remember that I hate virtually all two piece bands that don't have Doo Rag or Dos in their titles. Clawjob are from Allston and feature Gintz with one Nick Burgess. There are a lot of colleges up Boston way and, for my money, a lot of people who are too smart for their own good and yet not nearly as smart as they think they are. It's not entirely a bad thing, unless maybe you decide to ply your trade via concept records about history and suck at it; but then again if you drop 100k or so to go to Hampshire you can get a degree behind such ridiculousness, so maybe I'm the asshole here. Herein lies my dilemma: I have stated my case previously as to why there is no way in hell I wouldn't be dropping blogospheric doo-doo all over this EP, yet Clawjob have bored their way into my head and I can't stop listening to the fucking thing. Sigh.
Manifest Destiny is pretty much as described in their e-mail, but for once I will quote non-ironically from a band's hype engine: 'Manifest Destiny is a concept EP exploring life in the 1800s through the medium of relentlessly awesome rock music'. Rarely have truer words been spoken. Clawjob are nothing less but relentlessly awesome throughout this record. You want songs about ether frolics? Right here. A spot-on story song about Kentucky grifter Asbury Harpening? Check. Witty encapsulation of the speculation of what post-Industrial Revolution America might be. Oh yes! And it contains one of my favorite lines this side of the new Lord Finesse archive 12"s. To wit: there's a better type of living in our future, and it's full of nicer stuff.
Clawjob is a band that knows who they are and how they want to present themselves. They have a pretty great website, make their own videos and do their own package design when they are not being smarty-pants rock guys. It makes it that much easier to release concept records about space and expansionist America, I suppose. I know that they play live, but I'm not sure how that manifests itself. Manifest Destiny is some pretty serious ear candy in addition to being well-written. I hope that it isn't disappointing live, as I'm really jonesing to check these guys out. Somebody sign them and Edu-Core metal gods Bloodhag up for a tour, for chrissakes!
Should you be intrigued, Clawjob are streaming Manifest Destiny for free here and would be more than pleased to sell you one here
Check out their website and Myspace for more band history and stuff about their earlier concept record about space. Links are below. Good times, even if they are a two-piece.