Måneskin – ‘RUSH!’ review: the rock’n’roll circus rumbles on

The Italian band cap off a whirlwind period by sticking to their guns in the face of industry bluster and interference

It’s a testament to Måneskin’s tenacity that their win at Eurovision in 2021 increasingly defines less and less of their story. The band’s infamous victory in Rotterdam two years ago was somewhat marred by a drug scandal (one that the band’s lead singer Damiano David refutes), but it’s an episode that now feels firmly in the past. Since their continental win, they’ve made moves to break America, cemented themselves as a live tour-de-force and even supported The Rolling Stones. A gloriously OTT rock’n’roll circus, full of both adoration from their fans and backlash from the naysayers, has since followed Måneskin wherever they go.

Their message is suitably unsubtle, as David exclaimed in their 2021 winner’s speech: “Rock’n’roll never dies!” Alex Turner, eat your heart out. They had conflicting visions in mind, though: the Italian band are more into leather chaps than posing as rebels without a cause, while their influences essentially boil down to every single stadium-sized rock act of the past 40 years. Even the Godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop, saw something in them, hooking up with the band for a version of ‘I Wanna Be Your Slave’ in 2021. He would later tell NME that Måneskin are a “really strong band”, and that their apparent willingness to grind out a win on any platform that comes their way – be it on Eurovision or the Italian X Factor in 2017 – gives them a “really nice edge”. A smattering of provocative live shows and appearances have also helped the band outlive and outshine their 15-minutes of fame.

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‘RUSH!’, the band’s third album, is a snapshot of how they conquered the snobbery and became a ride that everyone, from the do-gooders to the more sinister figures, has wanted a seat on over the past 18 months. Unsurprisingly, it’s overcooked in places. In addition to super-producer Max Martin (Taylor Swift, Katy Perry), an array of producers come and go on the 17-track record that nearly stretches to a full hour. Three of the album’s lead singles – ‘MAMMAMIA’, ‘Supermodel’ and ‘The Loneliest’ – appear tacked on at the end rather than woven into the fabric of the record, following a run of songs in their native language. The latter includes ‘Mark Chapman’, a claustrophobic tale of an obsessive, relentless force named after John Lennon’s fame-craving murderer.

But little could possibly dampen the record’s spirit and spunk. ‘Gossip’, a team-up with Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello, bites back at the leeches and gossipers in showbiz that make up, as they snarl, “the American dream”. On ‘Feel’, Måneskin poke fun at the “cocaine on the table” that got them in trouble in the first place, while on ‘Kool Kids’ they dabble in ‘trendy’ post-punk and bark in a mock-British accent “we’re not punk, we’re not pop, we’re just music freaks!” across a minimalist groove. The glam-rock stomp of ‘Read Your Diary’ is hard to resist, too.

To have navigated such a whirlwind period and arrived here, not just in one piece but thriving, is an astonishing accomplishment. A world tour will soon commence, including dates at arenas across Europe, where these songs will fight hard for space next to Måneskin’s customary cover renditions – there’s a good chance that some of them might win out.

Details

Maneskin album artwork

  • Release date: January 20, 2023
  • Record label: Columbia

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