ONE OF the most often talked about challenges for any band is that of the second album.
And when the second album’s predecessor has scooped a host of awards (including Album of the Year at 2011’s Scots’ Trad. Music Awards) and has heralded the band’s explosion onto the Scottish music scene, the challenge becomes all the more formidable.
This was the very challenge Mànran found themselves facing when the time came for the six-piece Scottish outfit to create a follow up to 2011’s critically acclaimed eponymous debut album.
Yet, after two years touring Scotland and establishing themselves in continental Europe, it was a test the band relished.
With the natural evolution of the band’s trademark “grown-up folk-rock” sound - through continual experimentation and performances on some of Europe’s biggest festival stages - came the challenge to try and recreate this edgier, grittier live-performance sound on the recording.
And it has been achieved with stunning effect by once more pulling together the “dream team” of engineer Stuart Hamilton and producer Phil Cunningham, and fully exploring the more expansive, exciting reaches of Mànran’s live performances and translating these raw, vigorous elements onto record.
On top of this were the continual tests of combining the band’s six distinct creative voices and maintaining a natural balance between traditional and contemporary material, all the while keeping the sound exciting, vital and unmistakably Mànran. The resulting new album – aptly titled ‘The Test’ – is therefore the culmination of two years of meeting these challenges head-on and now an album that offers listeners the sensation of Mànran’s electrifying live performances, fresh challenges and tests await.
2013 sees the band tour the USA for the first time and will see Mànran touring festivals throughout Europe, building on an already strong following in Denmark, France and Germany.
But, with their Scottish Tour commencing in May, it is at home where Mànran will give their dedicated fans the very first chance of hearing the new material live and make them the first to be set ‘The Test’.
Catch Mànran live on ‘The Test’ Tour (in association with Regular Music) at the Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, on Thursday, May 16th; Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on Friday, May 17th; the Skye Gathering Halls, Portree, on Saturday May 18th, and Oran Mor, Glasgow, on Sunday May 19th.