The Arcata, California quartet may telegraph where they’re coming from and where they’re going to take you with their track titles, but knowing the itinerary doesn’t dampen the thrill of their excursion into stellar depths. White Manna know the transcendental and transformative powers of repetition, locking you into their thick hazy grooves, ramping up the intensity of distortion and guitar wig-outs as they explore their own hallucinatory visions. You won’t try to escape.
Opening track “Acid Head” is not false advertising. Opening with an amiable boogie-rock amble before morphing into stentorian, LOOP like riffing, you’ll know immediately that you can count on White Manna to envelop your head in the Asheton brothers’ genius string thuggery and convulse you with the primordial throb of the Stooges (and, later, Hawkwind) harnessed, before sonic irony was invented. White Manna group focuses on mantric riffs that accelerate into speed-freak, headbanging frenzies that make you feel indestructible. But on “Don’t Gun Us Down,” White Manna throw a change-up, setting the science-fictional scene with billowing solar winds, before shifting into a mantric cruiser over which a wah-wah-ed guitar articulates a hedonist manifesto—perhaps “fire all of your guns at once and explode into space.”
White Manna won’t dazzle you with eclecticism; instead, they’re monomaniacs who repeatedly win you over with their irrepressible ability to soar out of the mundane and into the unknown, by tried-and-true methods that have been upgraded to modern 21st century specs. Just two notes ridden into eternity is all the fuel these songs need to unravel spaced out vocal lines and searing guitar riffs over the course of lavishly extended jams where time melts completely and a second lasts forever, always bowing out before the comedown.
Far more powerful than any empty chemical trip, White Manna take you on an organically rapturous journey of hypnotic power and psychedelic spiritualism – enveloping, agonizing, beautiful and destructive.