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Manning - One Small Step... CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.58 | 60 ratings

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2 stars This prolific British troubadour focuses on space exploration on this 2005 release. The first few couple of songs are actually the highlights, suffused with his warm baritone and elegant lyrical and musical phrasings. "In Swingtime" is suave and suits its title, with gently bouncing arrangements, while "Night Voices" is a classic melodic Manning ballad. While "No Hiding Place" and "The Mexico Line" are more complex, they lack the simple appeal of the previous tracks while remaining song oriented.

As is usual for Manning, the lion's share of his efforts, and his main beef, is applied to a suite. While several components are emotional and communicated with conviction, such as "Man of God" and its bookend, "God of Man", the majority seems to forget to generate excitement. "Star Gazing", "Black and Blue" and "Blink of an Eye" are far more verbose than what we have come to expect, a bit too blunt, even trite lyrically ("we're only here for a moment", "the great escape of the monkey into man", oof), while the instrumentation seems overly subservient to Guy's message. A plodding bluesy feel seems to be the mood du jour here, and not what we have come to expect from Manning, whatever theme he may be exploring. Unfortunately it doesn't really work, as it needs some sort of infusion. All the instrumentation is there, the voice is there, but the material and the execution are both somewhat wanting.

Compared to Manning's earlier efforts, "One Small Step" is at best sideways, at worst a retrenchment.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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