Cover of Rosalita - Manga Girl. A girl with blue hair drinks a cocktail from a straw

Manga Girl EP

Having spent the last few years gradually building up their audience and supporting the likes of Misty’s Big Adventure and Love Ends Disaster, ‘Manga Girl’ is Rosalita’s second recorded offering which also sports four live tracks recorded for BBC Radio Suffolk at the back end of 2005.

The title track kicks off proceedings with an angular guitar riff and, what sounds like, a frog belching in an electronic stylee. The drums keep matters simple leaving space for impact when Kris Andrew’s jagged, post-punk vocals arrive.

On the whole, the lyrics are not what you would call inspired, with ‘She’s Manga girl, she twists and she twirls. Living her life, comic book world’ being the main thrust of the chorus. However, as a package, the song works exceptionally well and has a serious claim to be a short-term indie/rock-pop favourite.

‘Tired’ continues the Indie/Rock ‘with a hint of electronica’ theme. This time around the Bloc Party influence comes more to the fore, both in the energetically controlled drumming and Andrew’s slightly desperate delivery. There are a few bleeps, burps and tinkles from the keys but whether this track is better than ‘Manga Girl’ is a matter for debate that isn’t going to be resolved here. Suffice to say they both stand up in their own right.

‘Make No Sense’ then twirls in to provide another example of the wide range of writing styles Rosalita are capable of. Essentially this is a dance anthem. Not one of those ‘I’m on 15 E’s and need to get to a foam party now’ anthems, but more of the old skool disco beats which evolved out of the early 80’s gay scene. There’s a hint of Abba, the Communards and all that sort of stuff but there are also good growly guitars all sitting comfortably in a melody that wouldn’t sound entirely out of place on Eurovision. Of course, Andrew’s pokey and direct vocals save this from being the c-list entry from Moldova.

And then they change direction again. This time the keyboards take the front stage, doing their best to sound like a Hammond, for the two-minute ditty that is ‘So Sad’. Bouncy ska influences combine with dirty/clean guitars to create this up-tempo, foot tapper.

It’s then back to rock with 80’s disturbed keyboards and a mildly nu-metal verse riffage for ‘Heads’. The Franz Ferdinand style drumming keeps things light while letting the other instruments plunder the depths, all adding up to an understated gem of a track.

Backing up the EP are ‘Greg Finds a Girl’, which shows the ska influence again, but this time with the addition of what sounds like a pissed wasp, and the live recording of ‘Tired’.

Taken individually these are all reasonable tracks of which ‘Heads’, ‘Manga Girl’ and ‘Tired’ all stand out. However, it’s the sheer diversity and quality of the writing ability on offer, combined with brazenness to dip into almost any style, which really catches the ear.

Potential? Very much!

Watch Rosalita – Manga Girl (Live).

Written by Habert on

Pete Habert was sub-editor for The Mag and co-ordinated submissions from the swarm of writers that contributed articles from their local music scenes.

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