For about fifty years now, someone has always been around to remind us that rock’n’roll is dead—a phrase that has become a cliché itself that elitist classic rock fans have always fed on. In this heated topic of discussion, almost bordering on the absurd, very often newer rock bands like Måneskin are brought up. And public perception of the Italian quartet differs majorly from demographic to demographic: detested on Facebook, appreciated on Instagram and loved on TikTok. Rock group turned sociological experiment, Måneskin respond in old-fashioned way: with music. While they might not be the the rock saviors some may have been clamoring for, perhaps involuntarily, Måneskin find themselves portraying a caricature of an ideal rock star on long-awaited Rush!.
Rush! seems to be a product of questions surrounding what Måneskin would become in the future, especially after overflowing visibility of the group. And with some big name producers in tow and 17 songs on the bill, the four-piece try to pull out all the stops and draw on a wide range of genres for an eclectic yet incoherent end product. The album keeps the same classic rock vibe they are known for, however, they are not adding anything new to the slot and probably are not trying to either. In fact, nothing Måneskin is doing here is not being done by bands like Palaye Royale or even Adam Lambert.
Rush! is a simple record consisting of three-minute rippers that feature a screaming Damiano singing about all the rock clichés available in the archives, and it is so unnecessarily long that it almost turns into an insurmountable slog to get to the actual transcendent moments which could all pass by without the listener even noticing. But of course, none of these do not necessarily mean you cannot have a good time rocking to some decent repetition.
Swaggering opener “Own My Mind” sets the tone for the album and is driven by the stomping lock-in of Victoria De Angelis’ bass, which is a key feature in the majority of the tracklist and amped right up in the mix. “Gossip” embodies all the hallmarks of rock’s longest traditions with a guest turn from Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello to take aim at the perfectionist social media culture and performative activism. Slower moments like The Pixies-inspired “Timezone” calm down the listener for a second to then explode in the chorus with a sorrowful scratch to tell the difficult task of holding onto a relationship while being in different time zones and different worlds. The middle section of Rush! makes one question the length of the album. Yes, it was certainly not destined to change the history of rock, but perhaps would have allowed for a more memorable listening experience with ten or eleven pieces. “Don’t Wanna Sleep” offers a fairly incisive guitar solo from Thomas Raggi but little else.
“Kool Kids” very well mimics sexpistolian punk in its composition and serves as more of a mission statement where Damiano David does not even sound like himself at some point to imitate the British accent. It feels completely raw in its execution and is one of those songs you may wonder what they are actually doing. And going from a screaming punk song like this to a stripped-down heartfelt ballad is a bit of a contentious choice. Better scrapped, debauchery-stained “Read Your Diary” presents a fictional obsessive one-sided love story that feature some of the most questionable lyrics on Rush!, but on the brighter side, it also delivers one of their most pleasing rhythmic progressions to date. After burning through the entire record, the back half especially becomes a blur of lackluster tracks until the closing trio.
With a hook begging to be screamed, “Mammamia” is a good example of the kind of tongue-in-cheek humor the Måneskin do so well. The more conventional rock’n’roll “Supermodel” turned out to be the most pop piece of the album, but it fits well within the tracklist without clashing with the whole mood. Perhaps the most beautiful song in the disc, “The Loneliest” finishes on a more sombre tone. A poignant ballad, this is as much of a goodbye as it is a love letter. It is a piece worthy of being remembered as the spearhead of the band. But obviously, in order to get here, you have to cut through a whole bunch of nothing.
Rush! represents a turning point for Måneskin if they want to be other than a generic glam rock band or not. It is clear that the band has gone in a different direction with their music. Not that they do not have a couple noteworthy tracks in the bunch, but it is a pity that the record plays out so predictably that it almost sounds like a coked-out rock song after coked-out rock song for the most part. Yes, their sound is unmistakable, but at the same time feels a bit mimeographed. Rock scene could still use more of Måneskin, but right now getting back to basics might be the way to go for the quartet next.