Manuel’s Parking Lot pays tribute where tribute is due. Jake Sinetos and Alex Musto invoke Joni Mitchell’s most well known hit with both the title of the CD and the intro. They close with Eugene (Please Don’t Take My Van), which has opening lines that will take anybody back the childhood where they were forced to listen to Dolly Parton by the Country & Western loving parents. I still have nightmares of those days.
Though the album is far from anything resembling actual country, it does call on both folk and do-wop. The opening track, You Stole My Grandma (Let you Granny go Round), mixes folk rhythms on the guitar with do-wop style background vocals. My knee jerk reaction was, “This will never work.” I am happy to say that after multiple listenings, it does work. Quite well in fact.
The opening piece sets the tone for most of the album. Stripped down music, primarily just guitar tambourine, accented with the occasional sound clip or electric guitar riff. The CD maintains the sound, only slowing down for Dinosaur (twee pop a lop), which serves as the nostalgic ballad, making me long for days of recess twice a day. It also makes me wish I knew the rules to “…the game we called dinosaur.”
The most rousing track, and probably my favorite, is Fuck Art Lets dance (A Symphony in 3 Movements). The boys actual pull of three movements, encouraging their listeners to get out on the dance floor. The further flaunt their knowledge of artists before them with the Orwellian named Knowing is Unkowing. All though Big Brother would be proud of their prowess in Double Speak, it’s more a call to look beyond the thin surface and find the beauty underneath. To look critically and appreciatively view at the world around us, with a special emphasis on the music we listen too.
Manuel’s Parking Lot is a must have for someone who is looking for fun music with something to say. It’s the kind of music that forces you to nod in time and hum along, even at the office. Sinetos and Musto may borrow a bit from other artists, but make no mistake, they have used it to create something truly unique in a musicscape where everybody is trying to be different just like everyone else.
Manuel’s Parking Lot is available for download at CDBaby now, and soon on iTunes. Your discriminating music tastes will be wanting with out it.
-Jonathon L. Miller