Photo Credit: Gabriele Giussani
This deep into the 21st century, one could be forgiven if they felt as though rock and roll were now, finally, well and truly dead. Turn on the radio now, anywhere in the world, you will get a thousand examples of homogenized pop in almost as many languages, electronic dance music of varying degrees of hardness depending on how close or far you are from ex-Soviet nations, or trap or drill inspired hip-hop, now a long way removed from the root sources of Hotlanta and Chiraq respectively. For those of us still in love with the sound of Marshall stacks and the stomp-echo of platform boots, it was beginning to look as if those days were behind us. But then, enter Måneskin. Luckily.
Måneskin is a decidedly continental band. Formed in Rome in 2016 by four college students, Måneskin (moonshine in Danish) got their international break when they won the Eurovision Song Contest this year with their song “Zitti e Buoni”, or “shut up and behave” in English. In roughly 5 years the band has appeared on Italy’s version of X-Factor, recorded two studio albums, released 10 singles, opened for the Rolling Stones, collaborated with Iggy Pop, and conquered Europe in the name of rock and roll. All while dressed like mid-’70’s Stevie Nicks. Not bad.
But what do they sound like? Their influences are apparent: you can hear Arctic Monkeys, Thin Lizzy, and the Bay City Rollers, but their sound is hard to describe. Imagine Gary Glitter, Marc Bolan, and Bruno Mars were wed in a tripartite civil union, moved to Italy, adopted four beautiful orphans, and taught them about music and velvet clothing. That’s roughly what they sound like.
But Jesus, they are beautiful. Damiano David, singer and main lyricist and company are supernatural androgynous beauties. They were destined for fame, musical or otherwise.
Look at them:
Can you imagine them taking your order at a coffee shop, a covid-19 mask covering their angelic visages? Pumping your gas? It would be an affront to God.
And, make no mistake, having “the look” isn’t simply beauty for beauty’s sake. It is an integral part of this band’s sound. From their debut album Il ballo della vito and its hip-hop and disco Italo influences to this year’s “Zitti e Buoni”s more straight-ahead three-chord sound, the vibe that links every song like a golden thread is the sound of glamour. There really is no other way to describe it.
So, Måneskin, rock and roll’s great glam of hope. Should you find yourself in need of swagger and three-chord sexiness, say on some Friday night amid our collective endless-pandemic nightmare, Måneskin comes highly recommended. Put on your bellbottoms and work on your Italian.