Mann Friday’s new album “Bridgenorth Road” is their most powerful body of work to date
The alternative rock band’s sixth album is a textured snapshot of life after 40.
Stream/listen to “Bridgenorth Road” album HERE
Photo Credit: Niall Rooney
“I think it’s not often that in a band’s career there is so much relativity in a body of work like this. There’s such a strong resonance of experience on it and so much journeying that’s gone into each lyric and I think that makes it a really powerful album,” Rob explains when asked where Bridgenorth Road fits into Mann Friday’s discography.
The record is split into three phases:
- Tracks recorded pre-2019 capturing fatherhood and married life of the previous 8 years – but Balancing Rock and Come In From The Cold signalling cracks in the postcard.
- Tracks such as Fight For Me and Hurricane recorded in 2019 as separation and an impending divorce loom large.
- And one final track, written recently – Caravan In The Mist – detailing the rebirth of it all, and the chance to find love again. Because as its chorus declares “We’re not dead yet!”
The artwork also holds a lot of meaning for Rob. It’s of his two kids around Christmas of 2018, taken in front of the Bridgenorth Road street-sign where Rob was born and still lives to this day. “I think when you go through a major storm you take solace from the innocence in your kids – this road has three generations of hopes and dreams in it, and I wanted this cover art to pay homage to that”.
While parts of Bridgenorth Road celebrate the beauty of surrender, or staying the course through stormy seas, tracks like Parenthood, details the wonder of having children, which Rob reflects on saying, “I wrote it while my daughter was being born in Cape Town. We were waiting for my wife to go into labour, and I was just playing the guitar in the lounge, and I wrote this almost as a nursery rhyme for my son who was three at the time.”
The narrative of Mann Friday’s new album came full circle this year, as Rob and his fiancė Katherine were married this year at AfrikaBurn in front of 100 guests and 400 gate-crashers, under a giant red heart constructed especially for the occasion. With SA music legends Ard Matthews, Kahn Morbee (Parlotones), ShenFM and Sean Koch all performing at their Twisted Saloon venue, the wedding was capped off with a celebratory set from Mann Friday, all of whom had flown in from different corners of the world for the occasion.
Mann Friday’s subsequent performance of “Caravan In The Mist” – the last track off Bridgenorth Road and the one that details Rob & Kath’s triumphant love story – underneath the now-iconic red heart, serves as a symbolic conclusion to the release of the album, a reminder that love really does conquer all.