First Listen: Here Is What Måneskin’s “Rush!” Sounds Like

A blend of pop rock and ballads with a touch of British punk: we listened to the Italian band’s new album, out Friday
Maneskin - Rush - first listen - review - 1
Måneskin (ph: Delacroix)

Album covers rarely communicate in such an effective way the moment a band or an artist is living. But the one for Måneskin’s Rush! seems just perfect. It portrays them laying on the floor as a model jumps over them acrobatically. Her skirt goes up and each one of them reacts in a different way. Damiano turns his face pretending not to look. Thomas screams in fear. Ethan looks doubtful, while Victoria laughs relaxedly.

Maybe it is their way to let us know how they managed these months of rush, distance, longing. But all of that was compensated by incredible results and milestones never achieved before by any Italian band.

VERSIONE ITALIANA

Rush!, Måneskin’s most introspective album

Another way to tell this story is certainly the music contained in Rush!, out on Friday, January 20th, that we listened to at a preview for the press. The album features quite diverse moods and atmospheres and shows its value more in its entirety than in the singles that have been released so far. It is perfect to be played live during the tour starting on February 23rd.

This is normal for Måneskin, the band that has to bear the weight of carrying the flag of new rock music over the world. This does not mean that there are no other relevant bands. But there are not many of them that are able to change the course of the genre.

Rush! is Måneskin’s most introspective effort so far, like the press release states. It was created in 2022 in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and (marginally) in Italy. It was produced by their trusted producer Fabrizio Ferraguzzo (who is also their manager) together with the great Max Martin (Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, among others). The recordings were “old school”, with analogue equipment, and took place at a Los Angeles studio that was just a kilometer away for Martin’s studio.

A mix of references and eras

The album contains many references to other bands and artists, from both the past and the present. But like Måneskin themselves told us in our cover story (November 2020), their point of strength is precisely being able to mix everything with no hesitation. Hard rock with melodic ballads. British punk with straight-forward pop influences.

Do they exceed in this? Maybe sometimes they do. But Måneskin do not care that much. It would be nice to understand why they – instead of other bands – reached such a global success. Charisma, scenic presence, ability to play their instruments, ability to be provocative in a smart way: yes, but that does not explain it all. Still, everyone has to accept it and surely be glad about it.

The songs

The album starts with a song that holds itself back a bit but has a very intriguing production: Own My Mind. They immediately make things clear: “Do you wanna own my mind?”. We think we know the answer, knowing their personality. Then comes Gossip, the single featuring Tom Morello. The great guitarist does not bring any influence of Rage Against The Machine here, he reminds the early Franz Ferdinand instead.

Timezone initially sounds like the Red Hot Chili Peppers of the Scar Tissue era but then it opens up and almost becomes a pop song. The lyrics are nostalgic and realistic. “Ci divide solo un differente fuso orario. Ci dividono solo 7mila miglia” (“Only time zones are separating us, only seven thousand miles are separating us”): who knows who it is dedicated to.

In Bla Bla Bla, Damiano makes his voice even more provocative and presents himself as the perfect cliché of a rock and roll lifestyle. “I wanna fuck, let’s go to my spot / But I’m too drunk and I can’t get hard”. Well, the good old “sex, drugs and rock and roll”, together with digs at the Eurovision controversy: “Cocaine is on the table”.

Baby Said has a very interesting construction, but Gasoline is even better. The song (almost in the style of Marilyn Manson) was first played live at Coachella last year and was dedicated to war in Ukraine, with Damiano shouting “Fuck Putin” at the end of the performance.

Feel keeps the engine running and slightly reminds us the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army. Don’t Wanna Sleep goes the same way and mentions the Beatles in the line “Wearing Lucy’s diamonds to get a little shine”.

Then comes Kool Kids and it sounds like the post punk of Idles, Fontaines D.C. or Sleaford Mods. Never heard that from Damiano, who sounds convincing with his cockney accent. “I’m a scum”, he sings, just like the Idles’ Joe Talbot. “But cool kids the do not vomit / Or at least not in front of Vic”.

Things calm down with If Not for You, a melodic and romantic ballad, where the gentle sound is compensated by Damiano’s smoky voice. Read Your Diary is pleasant and sounds like certain rock of the ‘90s, Bush-style.

The three songs in Italian come next. Mark Chapman tells the disturbing story of an ex lover (or a super fan) turned into a stalker. Then come La Fine (“The End”, already released as a single) and Il Dono Della Vita (“The Gift of Life”). At the end of the tracklist we find the hit singles Mammamia, Supermodel, and The Loneliest.

So they close the Rush! with the saddest lyrics of the album, a sort of spiritual testament. “There’s a few lines that I have wrote in case of death / That’s what I want, that’s what I want”. But then he adds: “Don’t be sad when I’ll be gone / There’s just one thing I hope you know, I love you so”.

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