When they began as Greenland, Grün released a nifty E.P. called The Prisons of Language. About six years later, they had changed their name and then released their first album, Greenland, which continued on from the sound of The Prisons of Language whilst also showcasing a progression into something else. Close to seven years after that, they’ve now released their second album, Manyana.
The sounds found on Manyana are much more lush and developed than on previous releases. There are many more layers to the sound with the focus seeming to be on textures of the layers, as well as the atmosphere that they create.
Whilst the songs do seem primarily driven by the unison of the instruments as a rhythmic unit, there are times when one sound in particular will gain more focus than all the others.
In these moments the focus does not take away from the rest of the song as it seems to be done for the purpose of having another element to build the song and textures around. This works fairly well as the times when this does happen, it adds more breadth and scope to the song as the sound that gains focus never becomes more technical than required.
There’s enough movement and interplay between relaxed and slower, and direct and harder moments to keep Manyana from wearing out its welcome, all whilst keeping the overall sound expansive rather than restricted. Each moment seems to have been crated to see what it does for the sound of the album whilst also work as part of a song which shows Manyana‘s greatest strength; the songs work as well on their own as they do part of the album.
However, Manyana is not free of issues. Whilst there does feel like there’s space on the album, it doesn’t quite feel like it is breathing. There’s a good ebb and flow throughout the songs but they aren’t as dynamic as they seem to suggest, with some moments being sounding fairly flat. These aren’t enough to bring the album down as it still works well despite these flaws.
With that being said, Manyana does sound like there’s something missing that could be found and heard in Grün’s previous releases. It’s difficult to tell as to what it is, but in listening to Manyana, there’s too much of a feeling that Grün have removed something of themselves that helped them stand a little farther away from other bands of their ilk.
Manyana is not a bad album by any means. It does seem to have a bit more weight to it than most post-rock albums, the songs work well both as individual pieces and as part of the album and it does feel as though a great deal of care went into its creation. It’s an album worth hearing. However, it just feels like that something that made Grün who they are has been left behind.