The Manichean, Not Quite As Mysterious As They Sound

Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to

Manichean A.jpg
Here's the cool thing about the HPMAs: they present you with a very easy To handle list of quality musicians located in the greater Houston area. Mind, it's certainly not an exclusive list, or all-inclusive, but it does well to present you with a list of Can't Miss artists.

On that list, right under the Best Progressive Rock tab, you'll find The Manichean, a -surprise! - moody progressive rock band. (The band is also nominated for Best New Act.) Last October, Jef with One F wrote here that they were "loud and experimental and it's got horns and strings and it's full of weird spoken-word and atmospheric moaning." That's really a pretty good way of describing what it is that they're best at.

So after an encounter at a bar with Cory Sinclair, one-half of the Manichean brain trust, Rocks Off set out to conduct the be-all-end-all interview that would unravel the duo's unironic charm. Instead, the conversation veered towards drug use, birds flying into peoples' eyes and the proper usage of the term "film noir." Good luck.

The Manichean at Free Press Summerfest
Rocks Off: You know the guy Mason Verger from Hannibal? Do you think that that could actually happen? Gross.

Cory Sinclair: Right? And the justification for his hideous disfigurement was a popper high - S&M play, popper high, broken glass, in the face, self inflicted, face fed to dogs... scene. The Manichean neither endorses nor frowns upon the casual or erotic use of inhalants, but doesn't that seem a little excessive? To quote our pianist, Austin Smith...

[clap, clap, clap, clap]

"Face is hot, poppers are hot.
Face is hot, poppers are hot.
Face is hot, poppers are hot.
Face is hot, poppers are hot..."

But actually the beautiful thing about Mason Verger's character was the fact that he was always as ugly on the inside as he ended up on the outside.

RO: Please explain "... Zoe" Are you aware of how terrifyingly creepy it is? How exactly do birds flood one's eyes?

CS: "The Unfortunate Circumstances Surrounding Zoe" is a trick story, a ruse. It takes place in different parts of the main character's mind - the central character throughout the plot of the album entire [sic]. We as humans each have conflicting interests and impulses within us as well as different realities that could play out. "...Zoe" is a reflection of those choice realities and the fantasies within ourselves that might not always be proper, or appropriate, or sane.

Yes, it's meant to be terrifying and even insofar as creepy because it is a mirror of what men are capable of, and that is what can be truly horrific. But perhaps there is a measure of redemption in that which is truly tragic. "Zoe" will be our song that most people won't want to listen to, but they know they should.

And the birds we'll leave to your imagination.

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