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4 stars Maybe its not the best release by Guy Manning ,but it contains enough essential elements of his compositional style to be a good introduction to his music.Lyrically interesting, wonderful melodies which hold the listener and reward repeated plays. The Title track Cascade is immediately accessible but repeated listening reveals many different layers. Next up is the 'Mission impossible ' intro to the ear pleasing 'by the book' complete with rousing chorus is 'there anybody out there ? Some surrealistic references as well including a nod to Tulls Mother Goose. I particularly love the keyboard section at 4.28 which just transports me to another level before the final refrain of 'is there anybody out there'.Quite stunning Tears in The Rain is a wonderful acoustic piece which is similar in style both lyrically and musically to mid 70s Tull . For a reference for its lyrical content think of Tulls Journeyman. The next track Catholic Education is a favourite I love the melody but could do without the synthetic and now dated drum sound. Nevertheless, its a great example of Guys ability to hold the listeners attention by drawing them in with a great hook 'Catholic education black and white'. Some dirty guitar sounds on this track help to propel it along before an abrupt ending. Hushabye Mountain from a Disney film ..even Guys talents can't unfortunately do anything for me on this track pleasant but forgetable. Lead Me is a riff driven song with flute and sax and a sublime chorus emphasised by female voices which works within the structure of the song. At 2.58 the song changes direction into a clicking clock type riff complete with wonderful flute produced by Mostly Autumns flute player. A great piece. Better is yet to come with the organ introduction to Flight 19. A melancholic and beautiful track.If you like strong songwriting with interesting instrumental sections. Guy Mannings music is worth checking out. I have recently purchased his impressive back catalogue and no releases have disappointed.

Overall this early Manning CD is a good release and certainly deserves to be rated highly. I am looking forward to his new CD featuring Molly Blooms Stevie Dundon on Flute.

Report this review (#81894)
Posted Saturday, June 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars The followup to the breathtaking "The Cure" seems to lack much of its urgency and dramatic nuances, reflected by the somnolence of "Hushabye Mountain" and "Owning Up". It is a good collection of songs nonetheless, especially "Catholic Education", the well developed "Lead me where you will" and "Flight 19", and "The Time of Our Lives". Manning offers an appealing combination of progressive adventurousness and rock sensibility, all in a refreshingly song oriented and melodic framework. It is surprising his appeal has not cascaded down to a larger audience.
Report this review (#168850)
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Guy Manning returns with a more song orientated album as the follow up to "The Cure". And a pretty varied album it is. From folk-rock to pop, rock and prog. The average song length are around five and a half minutes. No songs are over eight minutes long.

The songs are filled with various influences. From lullabyes like songs to uptempo songs. From Irish influences to electronica influences. From jazz to romantic pop. From THE DOORS to STRAWBS.

As usual; the songs are filled to the brim with details. The rhythms patterns are pretty weird too. I think Guy Manning is doing a lot of experimentations on this album and he manages to pull it off. Unfortunate; there is no real killer songs on this album like for example Last Psalms and Songs Of Faith from the previous two albums. But the quirky Catholic Education is a very good song and the best song on this album. The rest of the songs are good too. But this is album is not Guy Manning's best album, I am afraid. Despite of this, I really like it. Guy Manning has this unique ability of never being dull og irrelevant. A good piece of keyboard here, a flute there and a quirky rhythm pattern follows. Life is never boring in Guy's world. This makes all his albums so interesting.

Maybe this is not a prog rock album in the purest definition of the term "prog rock". But it is still a very interesting album and worth checking out. But it is not an essential album.

3.5 stars

Report this review (#222357)
Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars This is the third album by Guy Manning, and is easily his best to date. Any Tull lover will immediately warm to songs such as "Tears In The Rain" where Guy accompanies himself on acoustic guitar and there is just a little background keyboards to add texture. I kept imagining that it would fit quite well on 'Minstrel In The Gallery', on side two just after "Baker St. Muse".

Although Guy provides the vast majority of the instruments, he has brought in a couple of guests to add some extra colours such as sax. Cyclops boss Malcolm Parker feels that the title cut could be a contender for prog song of the year and while I am not prepared to go that far, there are some very pleasant Floydian nuances that make it a great introduction to the album as a whole. He even manages to bring in some VDGG as well as some quite commercial pop touches to the same song.

Of course the follow-up, "By The Book" could only start by having a multi-tracked sax jazz introduction. The album would have made sense otherwise, even if it didn't come across as Gary Numan playing acoustic jazz prog!!

There are some wonderful songs on here, and I am sure that many progheads will enjoy this album that is really a slice out of time. It doesn't belong in this century.

Originally appeared in Feedback #65, Dec 01

Report this review (#970782)
Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2013 | Review Permalink

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