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Manning - The View From My Window CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.97 | 56 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Manning's 2003 contribution opens in absolutely breathless fashion, with the conviction and punch of "Phase". Manning and the band are firing on all cylinders here, and working with material that befits their efforts. The melody will stay in your head long after the fadeout. While some of his early material had tended to the quiet and reflective, perhaps too much so, this opener is a polar opposite. Where do we go from here?

The title cut is definitely more in his traditional style, but yet more lush and imposing. Another insistent tune, bolstered by strong percussion and synths. "The Rut" is the least interesting tune here, in an unwaveringly dirge-like bluesy vein. In contrast "Blue Girl" begins with a lite jazz feel that works far better, enhanced by sax and electric piano. Some striking lead guitar punctuates the piece.

As usual, the album's keynote is a lengthy suite, this one called "Dreams", and, while it has some interesting parts, it lacks a centerpiece, a presence that would make it the intended highlight of the disk. Nothing in it is as half as compelling as most of what precedes it on this album. So while this is another good effort from Manning, it is frustrating that he seems so capable of a masterpiece but won't deliver. One has to wonder if the window of opportunity is closing.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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