Trust Me I'm A Thief - 2004 - 43 minutes

The third album from The Redneck Manifesto sees the five-piece deliver their most focused work to date with this accomplished collection of guitar-driven instrumentals.

The intertwining guitar lines of the title track open an album filled with melody and well-chosen chords. The absence of vocals fixes attention upon the constantly inventive playing of the group as a whole, and tracks such as 'Take On Us' display that ability well.

Finding ways to captivate the listener without a singer and to avoid becoming indulgent are challenges rarely overcome by guitar bands, though they go some way towards bucking that trend here with a collection of restraint and subtlety.

Only on the louder numbers does it prove a more challenging listen. The wall of noise that can prove so captivating in a live setting begins to show cracks when built in the comparatively sterile environment of a recording studio. The onslaught becomes less musical without the audience interaction that a concert can provide.

When they get it right, however, the interplay between the band members brings to mind the heights that Sonic Youth can reach at their most melodic. Key to this is the rhythm section, which gives the often meandering jams a sense of structure and direction. The punchy tempo of 'Bring Your Own Blood', in particular, constantly coaxes the less disciplined instruments onwards, the bass and drums guarding against any signs of complacency.

Although it is certainly ambitious, the music of The Redneck Manifesto is created well within sight of the beaten path, demonstrating that quality and accessible music need not be made within the rigid song structures so familiar to most.

Ray Donoghue

Tracklisting: I Am Brazil – Take On US – We Still Got It – Another Day Of Hunting – Hibernation Statement – Break Your Fingers Laughing – I Have Not Make It – Who Knows? – Bring Your Own Blood – Paint The Dikbloc Pink – Good With Tempos