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I Am The Manic Whale - Gathering the Waters CD (album) cover


I Am The Manic Whale

Crossover Prog

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PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars Compared to their debut, published two years before, this is a great leap forward concerning songwriting and implementation. Okay, it sounds familiar somehow often enough, in the vein of Big Big Train, Spock's Beard, Anubis, Karmakanic among many others. However, with Michael Whiteman as the main initiator on board, 'Gathering The Waters' marks a 2017 album highlight for sure, this mainly due to its excellent compositions which are going right through me. It looks like, if ever, there is only a loose concept behind that album. So for example they are once picking up the Milgram Experiment taking place in the 1960's. And some songs, supported by samples, obviously are dealing with life at the seaside also - including strand atmosphere, fishing for crabs, lifeboatmen and so on.

When listening one will really sense that the recording sessions were pervaded by a very inspired atmosphere. Hereby especially the partially polyphonic vocal arrangements are top notch. 'Keep your helmets on' ... The Man With Many Faces at first comes as a warning against the 'prince of misrule', probably designed as a reference to real life experiences in these days. For me here are also some relatively tiny issues kept in memory, for example while Whiteman is singing 'or will they shock!' the guitar simultaneously gives us the creeps, fantastic! During the extended Stand Up a distinct jazz tinged Steely Dan flair strikes, and later some mellotron appears too, wonderful! A homogeneous standout album, no need to highlight any particular song actually, nearly on the same level with Big Big Train's masterpiece The Underfall Yard. 4.5 stars well deserved.

Report this review (#1911321)
Posted Monday, April 2, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another excellent release from the bizarrely-named I am The Manic Whale. This album shows development from their first (excellent) release, and to be honest, I didn't like it quite as much on first hearing. However, as is often the case with the best of Progressive Rock, this album rewards repeated listens and careful examination. I bought the album directly from Michael Whiteman through their web page.

This album has received extensive plays chez nous over the last couple of weeks, and we have really got to appreciate it. The opening track - "The Man With Many Faces" - shows the strides that this band has made from their first album, in composition, performance and recording. "The Milgram Experiment" - a very strange choice for a topic for a song - is positively chilling. Of the other tracks, "Stand Up" really stands out for me, though they all have a lot to offer, with the exception of "I'll Interlude You In A Minute" which just appears to be a means of providing a split between halves of the album (though I may be wrong!).

Once again, I was introduced to this album by the Chris Hunter programme on, when he played a couple of the tracks last year. The songs are not quite as immediate as the first album, but they're equally well-crafted. The composition and musicianship are of the highest order, but I'm going to give it only 4.5 this time around - I think that I still prefer the first release.

Once again, I'm looking forward to their next release!

Report this review (#2115645)
Posted Sunday, January 6, 2019 | Review Permalink

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