The beautiful country of Italy has provided us with countless luxuries for which we should be eternally grateful. The list includes but is certainly not limited to: Subway’s Italian herbs & cheese bread, the Super Mario Bros. video games, and arguably their greatest export, The Manges!
An Italian pop-punk institution since 1993, the Manges are back with their sixth full-length album, and I think it may be their best one yet. I was extremely impressed with 2020’s Punk Rock Addio. At the time, I thought it was by far the band’s most well produced, polished, and complete studio recording. With their new record Book of Hate for Good People, the Manges have once again one-upped themselves.
The songwriting is on another level from anything this band has done before. Starting things off is the high octane album opener “Lucky Tiger”, complete with an infectiously catchy chorus and a healthy dose of Screeching Weasel style lead guitar parts. This song sets the bar quite high, but the rest of the album has no difficulty clearing that bar. “Back to Bangcock” – a song that’s been in my regular rotation since its release as a single months ago – keeps the energy up and delivers big time with its hook: “Once again, dripping red, a small fish in the net, feeling trapped, in the same old crap”.
Having listened to this album about a dozen times, I can pick out a few songs that I’m not totally into. “Jesus is My Homeboy” is an fun little rock ‘n’ roll track, but it kinda ruins the flow of the tracklist being sandwiched between ultra-energized songs like “I Shot Cyrus” and “High on Stress”. The only other song that doesn’t quite stick the landing is “Too Many Freaks”. Obviously, the Manges are massive Ramones fans, but this attempt at a Dee Dee style hardcore song doesn’t quite do it for me.
Enough negativity, back to blowing smoke up some asses! The back end of this record is killer. “The Hate Parade” and “I’m Not a Sissy” throw back to the Manges’ tougher sound from their Bad Juju record. “Red Flags” closes out the album on one final high note. This one’s got another chorus that super glues itself to your brain; the guitar driven melody on this track is awesome as well.
So yes, this record has surpassed Punk Rock Addio as the best Manges record. I can say that with absolute certainty. Book of Hate for Good People is essential listening and is one of my Top 10 albums of 2022.
Buy Book of Hate for Good People:
Digital / CD / Blue vinyl / Yellow vinyl
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