The small town of Rakovník in Central Bohemia seems to be continents away from big international festival stages. However, the rock quartet Manon meurt, formed in Rakovník in 2012, have made their dreams come true. Their music, lacing Shoegaze sound with post-rock moods and dream pop, is currently the best the Czech alternative music scene can offer. And the international festivals? The four musicians fronted by Kateřina Elznicová have done a few over the years. The British Shoegaze Wave from the early 90s, epitomized by names such as Ride, Lush or Slowdive, was Manon meurt’s first major inspiration. The band’s first break came in 2013 when they opened for the revived major act of the Shoegaze genre, My Bloody Valentine, at their first Czech gig in 2013. How many bands get told by the soundman of the Irish noise rock legends they are “too loud”?
Manon meurt raised funds for their eponymous debut EP album from their fans by launching a crowdfunding campaign. The record got noted also abroad and was re-issued by the Canadian publisher Label Obscura. By then, Manon meurt, apart from numerous domestic tours, had also performed at festivals such as Nürnberg.Pop, PreMonte and Ment. It was not until 2018, that Manon meurt “divulged” their first LP record, coded in latin numerals MMXVIII. In the recording studio, they were joined by Jan P. Muchow whose band The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa in the mid-90s had enriched the Shoegaze arsenal of music with an album titled Free-D (Original Soundtrack) released by the cultish London label Go! Discs (The La’s, The Housemartins, The Beautiful South). That made the circle complete, although the album MMXVIII significantly deviates from the Shoegaze style by interjecting their complex song structures with dream passages as well as energetic outbursts. “Nothing against simple verse-refrain-verse songs, we sure like them and listen to them. But it did not satisfy me to stay solely within that format,” says the drummer Jiří Bendl, whose thunderous beat contrasts with Kateřina Elznicová’s dream-like vocals, while Vojtěch Pejša’s guitar switches between brutal feedback, and gentle fills. On top of that, David Tichý’s keyboards supply Manon meurt’s music with unpredictable shadings. MMXVVIII is the direct opposite of consumer music, a complete and very emotive record that requires the listener’sfull attention. On the other hand, the experience of Manon meurt in concert generates love at the first listen. It’s so easy to get washed away by the wave of their music.
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