Art Rock

The Manichean at the Alley Theatre, 6/28/13

The Manichean Alley Theatre June 28, 2013

The Manichean doesn't do half-assed. From their albums to their performance, everything is a piece to the part of a puzzle, as seen Friday night, when the Houston band performed their latest album, Lovers, at The Alley Theatre.   Though it was their second performance of Lovers in the Alley's intimate space (the last one was in July 2012), the room was nearly full.   With the lights dimmed and white noise whispering through the speakers, the band -- Justice Tirapelli-Jamail, Sean Spiller, Dylan Tirapelli-Jamail and Ash BigCash -- walked onto the floor amid cheers, with an additional four-piece backing orchestra.

It wasn't until after the group began playing and singer Cory Sinclair, who acted as one of the lovers around whom the album is based, made an entrance from the front of the room.

Lovers revolves around the theme of limerence, or, the state of being in love. According to the playbill, which featured an entire explanation of the term, limerence was coined in 1977 by psychologist Dorothy Tennov, and describes "an involuntary state of mind resulting from romantic attraction to another person once combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to having one's feelings reciprocated."

Though it sounds tiring to explain and possibly understand, The Manichean found a way to bring limerence alive.

This doesn't come as a surprise. The group is known for their conceptual albums, and their clear direction and understanding of one another seems to push their performance away from that of a rock band into that of a band of artists.

Sinclair, known for his intense, passion-filled performances, was nothing short of perfect for the role of a heartbroken lover, who was pining over the affections of "her," portrayed by The Tontons' Asli Omar.

Because Lovers is a story told using spoken word and song, Sinclaire captivated the audience as he shifted his emotions throughout the performance.

The story, which was split into two acts began with a well-dressed band in darker colors. Sinclair's focus was fixed on Omar, who appeared on the handcrafted stage in a white dress during "Fits of Chemistry."

The story and stage were bursting with life during "Laughter (Sigh)," when Sinclair and Omar began dancing around one another, tossing rose petals in the air. However, the happiness didn't last long before The Great Sparrow, played by Tyagaraja, emerged to take Omar away.

But although Sinclair's performance as a singer and lead actor of sorts were the main focal point of the evening, the performance would not have been what it was had the band not been so in tune with one another.

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Alyssa Dupree
Contact: Alyssa Dupree