Between 2006 and 2009 the Manhattans burned searingly hot and threw off scuds of squally fuzz like the noisiest roman candle on Bonfire Night. Then, just like one of their electrifying live shows (23 minutes and offstage, no encores) they were gone, to work on the Blanche Hudson Weekend and the Medusa Snare/ Wednesday Club. But, with the sort of surprise you’d get if you looked outside to see Lord Lucan riding Shergar down your street carrying a map of the resting place of Flight MH370, they’re back doing the things they do best.
That’s best captured on the fast and fuzzy ‘(Never Stop) Hating You’, a ramalama boxing bout between grinding guitars, viagra-enhanced bass and wired, manic drumming, the whole thing sealed in a perfect melodic parcel that offsets the sonic assault. Meanwhile ‘Drag’, with its fury of buzzsaw guitars, is an anthemic return to form. All that sums up one aspect of the band - the other one is their 60s girl group obsession, captured on the brilliant ‘Goffin & King’, which sounds like the Ramones indulging their Ronettes fantasy. In a case of life mirroring art for the titular heroes, innocence fades and reality intrudes as “teenage dreams turn to adult heartbreak”, Caroline’s voice moaning with the pain of separation. But there’s also variety, in the dark post-punk of ‘The Blood Club’ with its sinister, bodysnatching bass riffs and bleeding guitar noise while the lurching Jesus And Mary Chain style pop of ‘Speak To You’ would have charmed John Peel back in the day.
But fuzz is the theme of the day, and ‘Anything But Satisfied’ is a loud, fast and fuzzy kinetic rush, a relentless, unstoppable pop force, which sums up the record. Like a revengeful hero in one of the cheap action movies from which they borrow their covers, the band are back in town with unfinished business and won’t stop until they’ve made their point or died trying. Better surrender now.