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Manning - Charlestown CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.49 | 136 ratings

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5 stars Okay, cards on the table - I've enjoyed all of Guy's work since I first heard of him round about the time of "The Cure". As well as his own considerable body of material Guy added a lightness of touch with the acoustic flavourings in the first few Tangent albums, and is surely now one of the premier English progressive rock songwriters on the scene. 'English' is perhaps the best description, too - it's something that comes over in everything he does, in his voice (described by some as a 'Marmite moment', but I love his singing), the way he puts songs together, and the way they sound on album.

Last year's superlative "Number Ten" was always going to be a tough act to follow, but he's been and gone and done it with "Charlestown". The 35-minute title track alone - a salty tale of wrecking crews, storms and eventual salvation - is worth the asking price, but there's significant icing on this particular cake with the rest of the songs. Caliban and Ariel is a lovely piece of whimsy, based around the fanciful notion that the two characters from The Tempest would meet up after hours and dance on the beach...The Man In The Mirror, the moral tale of a character who lives outside normal society...Clocks, a mandolin-driven reflection on time...T.I.C., a typically sardonic observation on the end of a relationship...capping it all off with Finale, in which some of the themes from the epic title cut are reprised, mangled, turned around and made into something wholly new and wonderful.

This is without a doubt Manning's best effort yet, and that's saying something. Easily a five-star release, in a year when there have been many that could be so described.

amazingwilf | 5/5 |


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