Here's a bit of trivia for you: what do the bands Rush, Blur, Thousand Foot Krutch, and Hawk Nelson all have in common? The answer would be that they all hail from Canada. Another band to add to the growth of rock bands attempting to get recognition in the United States would be Mississauga, Ontario natives Manic Drive. This particular band fuses together alt rock, metal, and progressive power pop, sounding similar at times to bands like 38th Parallel and Linkin Park. Is it improper for a band to sound like another popular band? If they are striving to be original, then such a task is too redundant.
Despite the fact that this band could be mislabeled as a group of copycats, Manic Drive's debut Reason for Motion does have both strong and weak points. After a ruffled piano intro, the album kicks off with an alt/metal number in the form of "Something More," which is about looking beyond the world's offerings to achieve life with a higher superiority. Songs like "Wasting Away" and "Aimlessly" have a musical similarity to bands like Staple and Jacks of All Trades (who happen to be a rap/rock band out of Finland), which isn't bad but could have fared better overall. Although songs like the emotionally- tinged feel of "Luckiest" and "Crying" tend to sound too familiar with the band 38th Parallel, they end up being the best tracks on the entire album. Many of the album's other songs have heart-driven vocals, occasional rapping, well-produced guitar arrangements, and even a little bit of a keyboard rhythm ("Only One"). Unfortunately, the disc scratching on the intro of "Only One" feels out of place and just does damage to what is already a great song. It is during the band's lighter moments where they shine through beautifully, as expressed in "Memories" (about remembering Christ's sacrifice in giving of oneself to Him in return) and the melodic rock ballad "Tragedy."
All in all, Manic Drive separate themselves from the typical indie band in showing that the only improvement they need is to create their own definitive sound, while overproduction is rarely existent in their music. Aside from having arrangements that remind the listener of other largely popular bands in the mainstream, this hard rock band has the drive and potential to go many places with their message and music. It will be only a matter of time in finding out whether or not Canada will become the new British invasion of the music world in the States.- Review date: 9/1/05, written by Paul Portell
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