Amar es Combatir, Mana’s 9th studio album and first in four years, was produced by Mana with the special collaboration of recording engineer Tom Russo (Audioslave, Macy Gray, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton). Also includes a duet with JLGuerra.
It’s finally happened. After years of puzzling popularity by way of derivative rock retreads, Mana has finally made the leap to full-bodied musical force on its first album in four years, Amar Es Combatir. The disc is a thoughtful, tender and often terrific collection of pop wizardry. It’s buoyed by solid production work, a cohesive sound and singer Fher Olvera’s commanding vocal presence. Mana has always drawn inspiration from the arena-rock vibes of everyone from U2 to Journey, but this time, the group takes those blueprints and creates its own urgent framework. It’s a thrilling, insanely catchy collection. Everything on the disc crackles with energy, from winsome opener “Manda Un Senal” to swaggering closing track “Relax.” In between, the Mexico-based outfit weaves memorable stories of love that are marked by pulsing percussion, driving guitar riffs and emotive vocals. First-rate stuff from a group who finally–at least to these ears–justifies all the fuss. –Joey Guerra