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Manning - Songs From The Bilston House CD (album) cover

SONGS FROM THE BILSTON HOUSE

Manning

 

Eclectic Prog

3.93 | 86 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Simon Jackson
5 stars How does Guy keep up to the standards set so highly by the previous release? Year after year he does it again & again. A lot to ask when you consider it's only about twelve months from start to finish of an album. I'm sure a lot of artists would find this pace impossible to keep up. Guy not only manages this heady pace but stuffs it full of wonderful & inventive music. This new album is no exception.

If you are familiar with any of his albums you'll already know that Guy doesn't rehash old idea's & serve up reheated déjà vu like some bigger name artists. Oh no, what you get with a Manning release is a lot of thought, skill & imagination all carefully woven together with great care & attention by the man himself. You have probably guessed by now that I've been a fan of Manning's work for a while now.

Enough background, what about this new album. Well everything I've said above still stands, another step forward has been made in all departments. The concept is loose enough that if you want to get involved with the overall storyline you can. Personally I like to get familiar with the music, the lyrics usually become more apparent on further subsequent plays. Guy's concept is found through the lyrics rather than recurring musical themes. Away from the concept each song also stands up very well on it's own, so as an album of separate 'songs' this also works very well. Two albums for the price of one!!!

From the opener 'Songs from the bilston house' to the final 'Inner moment' we are taken through a wide range of musical styles that keeps your interest all the way through. This is about the only commonality Manning albums share & I assume the basis of which they are originally conceived. Favourite tracks for me are difficult to isolate as there are so many highlights, but 'Understudy' is a real belter & 'Lost in play' has some lovely guitar work.

Production is usually high with Manning albums, however this time Guy has pulled out even more stops & drafted in friend & Tangent colleague Andy Tillison who has added further polish & shine to this release. The artwork is also worth mentioning as it dresses the album in the style it deserves. This is just as carefully considered as the music & follows the themes to each song within the booklet.

Curiosity to buy this (or any) Manning album would not go unrewarded, once you have fed it to your CD player. Once you've dipped your toe I'm sure you'll be back for more & like me eagerly anticipate his next release. His back catalogue is well worth exploring & for anyone unsure whether to take the risk & purchase a shiny disc to try, there is a free sampler available to download on Manning's website. How risk free can you get!!!

I would recommend this album to anyone who reads these reviews. Without any hesitation!!! Indeed anyone looking for a new musical discovery. Manning still seems to be a hidden treasure that more people should investigate.

Simon Jackson | 5/5 |

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