Manic Drive’s New Album “VIP”: Earnest, Soulful Songs

Writer Kevin Ott At Rocking Gods House

Manic Drive is back with their fifth studio album, VIP. And, like many artists these days, they’ve gone rogue and have released this new effort independently.

According to their latest press release:

For fans of the Toronto-based MANIC DRIVE, it has been a long three-year wait since their acclaimed studio project, EPIC.  Over the past decade, this award-winning trio has built a loyal international following, fostered by their infectious brand of power-pop and a genuine commitment to a relationship with their audience. Now, on October 14, a new season begins with the debut of their fifth studio album, VIP.

Check our more info, including where to pre-order or purchase it, at the band’s official site. And, like all independent artist, crowd-funding is the main ingredient. You can check out their campaign here.

Three interesting observations about this new album:

  1. Manic Drive Album VIP At Rocking Gods HouseReleasing the album independently — i.e. no record label — has clearly not diminished the quality of the music, and, in fact, it might have freed up some of their creative elements to flourish. Not that record labels are bad, but it’s always interesting when bands bravely go it alone. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. And Manic Drive certainly isn’t the first group to do it. Just off the top of the my head I can think of two major Christian groups — Disciple and Fireflight — whose latest albums were very high quality and also 100% independent.
  2. This album’s got soul. “Soul” is a broad term, but I’m referring to moments that drift into the vicinity of a Thriller Michael Jackson/blue eyed soul/George Clinton-eque vibe — and I just mean little echoes of these, not obvious bold references — that are sprinkled across the melody and vocal style of songs like “VIP,” “Good News,” “Electric,” and “Rhythm.” It adds plenty of life to the album.
  3. Of course, Manic Drive’s bread and butter, as mentioned in the press release, is power-pop. The majority of the album has its feet planted firmly in this sound with an EDM-inspired production. EDM as a studio production framework is the word of the day in the music industry right now; it’s the ticket that everybody’s punching. Manic Drive is no exception. “Fire” and “I Hide You Seek” are clear examples of this influence.

Lyrically, the album has lots of verve and celebratory, joyful declarations in the context of big picture Scriptural themes like spreading the Good News, reflecting on the power of God, or getting a clearer understanding of our identity in Christ, which is the message of the lead single “VIP.”

However, what impressed me the most in its lyrical themes, and in the general mood of the album, was its youthful, earnest passion for the adventure of following Christ. There’s no weary, melancholy overly self-absorbed cynicism that many songwriters indulge in — even in the Christian industry. It’s pure joy and excitement with a little dash of soul thrown in for good measure. That’s VIP in a nutshell.