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Phil Manzanera - K-Scope CD (album) cover


Phil Manzanera


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3.40 | 28 ratings

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3 stars I had an idea in my head of what a solo Phil Manzanera album would sound like, and it sounded like this. THIS, in case you're wondering, is art pop/rock that not only sounds like his various side projects but enlists many of them as well: Roxy Music, Split Enz, Godley and Creme, Brian Eno's backing band. Roxy fans are likely to have the most interest in Manzanera's solo career, and yet K-Scope is more likely to please fans of early Split Enz or Godley and Creme. The songs (there are only three instrumentals) feature Tim Finn, John Wetton and Bill MacCormick on vocals (logical deduction tells me that Bill and brother Ian are responsible for the silly lyrics, which are less clever than Eno but in the same bananaland). When Tim's singing, which is about half the time, it's hard to escape the Split Enz comparison. Bill MacCormick surprises with two vocals, including the charming "Gone Flying," while John Wetton (marbles firmly in cheek) is fairly credited with "voices" on "Numbers." Despite the revolving vocalists, K-Scope remains a consistent listening experience because the same left- of-center principles are at work in every song. While Eno more was more consistently inventive, K-Scope is a better record than G&C's L, perhaps because Manzanera doesn't seem to have so large an ego to feed. He sticks to his strength (the lead guitar) and surrounds himself with smart folks who know what to do: Mel Collins, Simon Phillips, etc. Highlights include "Gone Flying," "Walking Through Heaven's Door" and the instrumental "K-Scope." Whether this is the best of the Manzanera solo elpees, well, I couldn't tell you. However, he deserves a gold star simply for not copping out with an album of instrumental fuzz like Robert Fripp, Andy Summers and the other gauzy guitarists of his generation (although the closing "You Are Here" suggests it may be a suitable destination for PM some day).
daveconn | 3/5 |


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