Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the members of Maneskin are all younger than 25. Their sound and swagger belie their age. It’s not hard to imagine charismatic frontman Damiano David strutting around the same stages as the likes of Mick Jagger or David Bowie as Maneskin plays any number of rock fests in the 70s.
That’s not to put Maneskin in the same category as those greats – at least not yet. Still, “RUSH!” is the kind of album that makes you think through those kinds of “what ifs” during its highest points, whether that be in the midst of the passionate energy of “MAMMAMIA” or during the anthemic album closer “THE LONELIEST.”
When Maneskin hits their groove, there’s just a genuine magic in the music. The kind that makes you think that they could maybe join with the likes of Mammoth WVH or Dirty Honey to usher rock back into the pop mainstream if such a thing is still possible today.
Those moments are only that, however. They’re glimpses at the sort of quintessential album Maneskin could make but hasn’t quite pulled off yet. “RUSH!” is a bit too inconsistent to rise to that occasion, even if it does soar in ways that few new rock acts can reach.
The album’s strong opening number “OWN MY MIND” starts “RUSH!” off on the right foot. It’s the kind of song that feels like a concise statement as to what Maneskin is all about. Damiano singing is predictably stellar as is Victoria De Angelis’ grooving bassline. The latter really shines at different points in “RUSH!” something which the band should spotlight even more in the future. Thomas Raggi’s almost signature guitar riffing also carries on through the song, a sound that’s given the band something of a trademark style already.
The album struggles to ride the energy it creates with “OWN MY MIND” for the full 52 minutes of “RUSH!” though. It’s arguably the album’s biggest fault. There’s just too much of it.
It’s a problem that plagues pop and rap in today’s streaming area. Albums that feel a little too bloated for their own good in an effort to boost streaming numbers or throw everything at the wall to find as many radio hits as possible.
To point, songs like “TIMEZONE” and “BABY SAID” feel a bit too pop infused for the band. Mid-album track “GASOLINE” also misses, trying for a darker vibe that the band does far better later in the album.
Other songs like “FEEL” and “DON’T WANNA SLEEP” are good, carried by Raggi’s guitar more than anything, but aren’t particularly special in any way either. The kind of songs that fill out an album’s runtime, except “RUSH!” isn’t in need of filler.
Even taking out singles like “MAMMAMIA” and “SUPERMODEL,” there’s a lot to love about Maneskin’s latest release. “KOOL KIDS” is a middle finger raised punk number through and through. It’s the first song on the album that really reminds you that this is the same band that’s released a duet with Iggy Pop.
“BLA BLA BLA” is a similarly fun entry. It’s the kind of song that would almost be tacky in the hands of a lesser band but feels undeniably cool under the guidance of a savvy group like Maneskin that’s already done so much to promote its glam rock era image.
It’s when the album switches to Italian that the band really comes alive though. Starting with “MARK CHAPMAN,” with its slinky guitar riff and stellar bassline, Maneskin really kicks “RUSH!” into another gear with three consecutive killer songs sung in their native language.
The trio of songs helps guide “RUSH!” into the band’s various hit singles, which often seem to rock even harder when grouped together, to close the album on a high note.
“RUSH!” would be an early album of the year candidate at around 37 or 40 minutes. A concise statement on how great rock can be in 2023. As it stands however, Maneskin’s latest will still make you thrilled for the genre’s future and should go far in cementing them ahead of fellow newcomers like Greta Van Fleet as one of rock’s newest leaders.
Spotlight Score: 8/10