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Try Wait: Mano Kane gets ‘heavy’
BY GARY CHUN / firstname.lastname@example.org
Things are getting a bit “heavier” for local rock band Mano Kane — in sound anyway.
Former Honolulu Pulse blogger Sabrina Velazquez first profiled the band, led by the behatted Christopher Chorney, in January 2012. Back then, Chorney said Mano Kane was just starting a new record.
Well, the finished product was finally released on Dec. 12 of last year — 12/12/12 — in digital form as the EP “Wake Up!” Only those familiar with the band’s previous incarnation as a pop-rock confection will be surprised with the range of styles heard over the five tracks.
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The deceptively titled “Noise” is anything but; Chorney said it has a bit of a bossa nova feel to it, going out with a nice bit of vocal harmonies and some tasty guitar playing by Kalani Puana. “Broken” hearkens back to a classic soul ballad sound, complete with a fine, even moving, harmony arrangement. And “The Ballad” generously cribs the sound of John Lennon, “Abbey Road” Beatles-era. The Fab Four has always a been a big influence on Chorney and his writing partner and former band member Ed Miranti (since relocated to New York City, where the two originally met).
The release is “dedicated to Dad — somewhere up there in the cosmos. Hope this gets to you.” Chorney’s father died in 2009, which brought him back to Hawaii from NYC.
Using analog recording techniques to capture a warmer sound, Chorney said “we tried hard to recreate the sound of those earlier recordings. The goal for the next record is to go for a richer vocal. … There’s a lot of retro-sounding stuff out there now, using reverb for that lo-fi feel. In the studio, I want clarity. I want the sound to be dry and in-your-face.”
Instrumentally, Mano Kane’s latest lineup sounds like a keeper. Besides Chorney and Puana, the band includes bassist Amrik “Beak” Sidhu (doing double duty with fine Chinatown band Animal Mother, who Chorney is working with on an ongoing recording), keyboardist and backup singer Kate Saari Greennagel and indie man-about-town Jack Tawil on drums.
(Kate’s brother Jim, who just moved out here from their Virginia homebase, is slowly taking over percussion duties.)
“We’ve gone from being a more acoustic pop-rock band to something a little more heavy sounding,” Chorney said.
With Miranti still writing the bulk of the lyrics, albeit from the far end of the mainland, music writer and arranger Chorney said he’s inspired by “the rock of the ’50s and ’60s. I still reference the Beatles, and more recently, the Doors. And I like the sound of ballads and country songs.
“My fondest musical memory I have is riding with my dad in his jalopy, listening to Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison tapes.
“I’m looking forward to doing our next album. Response to the EP has been good, but I want us to get stronger as a band,” Chorney said.