Review: Arc of Manapples: Articulated Mob (double album)
For nearly 25 years since he took to the stage at the long-gone Lounge Hall as a teenager with Enamel Camel, Jeremy Grove has been one of Harrogate’s greatest rock musicians, always going his own way, pleasing himself and serious music fans.
His latest album with his longest-enduring outfit Arc of Manapples takes this approach to new heights.
Classic 7in soul night in Harrogate on vinyl
A master of proper riffs and blistering guitar lines, abrasive but soulful vocals and muscular but non-macho rock tunes, Articulated Mob is a double album and, as all good double albums do, revels in breaking barriers.
So, as well as the expected powerful but melodic rock of tracks from this dynmanic three-piece such as Old Stones and You Like Fire, there’s also pastoral acoustic numbers such as the wonderful Summer Monuments, the fuzzed-up garage rock of Human Engineers, an unexpected solo piano ballad called Alive in 1973 and the playful almost whimsical funk-rock of The Sound of Solid Ground and the fantastic title track itself.
As this stunning 18-track splurge of ideas and energy shows, what this punchy outfit really do is tend the light of mainstream rock music lit by the likes of The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Black Sabbath and filter it through succeeding generations of alternative rock in their own unique way.
What emerges is a glorious contradiction founded on the complicated nature of the band’s sometimes ornery fronman Jeremy Grove himself.
A no messing band who are happy to serve up the occasional gloriously lengthy guitar solo.
Outsiders who spurn convention but rarely end up sounding outlandish.
Arch-realists who would never consider themselves hippie yet always seem to be looking for that mountain top.
The result is a band that matters. Long may they and their search continue.