Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, five-piece instrumental rock troupe the Redneck Manifesto forged a considerable commercial following despite the inaccessible nature of the genre. Holding up Slint, Shellac, and Mogwai as key audible influences, the Redneck Manifesto began with the winding down of the late-'90s Dublin hardcore scene, bringing together guitarists Niall Byrne and Mattie Bolger, bassist Richie Egan, and Dundalk-born drummer Mervyn Craig, the only member of the band born outside of Dublin. Deciding to proceed without a singer, the four-piece formed their own label, Greyslate Records, and issued their first single, TRM:1, in 2000. They released four further similarly titled singles on various independent labels over the following two years, including split 7"s with the Idiots and the Kabinboy, but it was their partnership with Lyon, France-based redf Records that provided the catalyst for their success.
The Redneck Manifesto's first full-length release, ThirtySixStrings, was recorded with producer Alan O'Boyle of Dublin electronic outfit Decal, and released jointly by redf in France and Greyslate in Ireland. It was branded Irish Album of the Year by influential pop culture 'zine Event Guide. While their dynamic blend of explosive post-hardcore and asymmetrical jazz melodies mirrored the type of sound bands like At the Drive-In had made popular in the U.S., it was mainland Europe that embraced the group first, and in March of 2002 the band embarked on their first headline tour outside of Ireland. As a means of funding the trip, the band commissioned an EP to sell while on tour. That EP soon became the band's second full-length album, Cut Your Heart Off from Your Head; so similar in style were the two records, released within 12 months of one another, the band dubbed it the "companion piece" to ThirtySixStrings.
Buoyed by the critical acclaim for the sophomore effort, and with the addition of keyboardist Neil O'Connor (of the Connect Four Orchestra) to their ranks, the Redneck Manifesto headlined (appropriately, above the Mars Volta) one of the five stages at Ireland's largest music festival, Witnness (now Oxegen), in 2003, having made their debut appearance at Texas's South by Southwest festival the preceding March. In June, Richie Egan released his debut solo album, Cosmosphere, under the pseudonym Jape on the Volta Sounds label. In September of 2004, the group released their third studio album. Their first with Dublin alternative label Trust Me, I'm a Thief, I Am Brazil was a more polished and melodic record, made in the south of France with producer Dave Odlum, a former member of Kila and the Frames, who had co-produced the latter's For the Birds with Shellac member Steve Albini. In April of 2006, the extended EP Seven Stabs was released on Greyslate. Shortly afterward, each member of the band recorded one track for an EP, which was distributed digitally, for free, via the band's website, while fans who'd attended a Vicar Street gig on June 1 were entitled to a physical copy. ~ Dave Donnelly