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Varius Manx: Elf

Album Notes

Like a cross between Kate Bush and Wang Chung, Varius Manx makes music very grounded in '80s pop with a dark twist that hints at more underneath. Sung in both English and Polish, Elf is a confident release that paints the band as a poppy rock act with a heart. Singer Anita Lipnicka has an airy, light voice that strongly brings to mind Bush, especially on tracks like the keyboard-laced "Belle." Songs like that are then balanced out by the guitar-driven tracks, like "Sleight of Hand," the long-lost cousin to the music from the Vision Quest soundtrack. This presents the only issue that haunts the band's music: they can be really cheesy. Not like how Bush would be cheesy but still commendable, but cheesy in a guilty-pleasure way. That is not the case with the entire album, but there are definite moments where the music builds into a big, blustery chorus or the guitar starts to jam out into a big '80s riff. Elf is a fun, enjoyable album that falls short of being great but has a good time because of it. ~ Bradley Torreano


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