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Manning - Charlestown CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.49 | 136 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Coming home...

Guy Manning survives shipwreck and lynch mobs to bring us his most adventurous, and most accomplished release to date.

The Good: Those familiar with Manning albums will already know he can't sing for toffee, so it's probably inevitable that my favourite track on Charlestown is the one without vocals. Having said that, Finale is a superb composition by anyone's standards, and even won the coveted award for 'My favourite instrumental track from a non-instrumental album of 2010', in the British solo artist category. Another song which bring a nice change of pace to the proceedings is Caliban and Ariel, a dreamy ballad which references character's from Shakespeare's The Tempest.

However the main event is the epic title track which clocks in at just over 35 minute! Traditionally Manning's longer tracks had a habit of degrading into extended lulls or repetitive sequences, but Charlestown really is excellent throughout. The musical imagery it conjures up is so strong that last time I listened to it I was under the impression that it had actually started to rain. Considering I was on a coach driving through the Tabernas desert of southern Spain then this was no mean feat! Although I should probably mention that I was also suffering heavily from dehydration and sleep deprivation at the time, but I digress...

The Bad: This is the part of the review where I talk about how annoying Guy Manning's voice is, and it is, but to be fair the vocals on this release are actually more tolerable than recent outings. Next I am supposed to point out how mundane the rest of the tracks are and sure, Clocks and The Man in The Mirror don't have much going for them, but they aren't particularly bad either which is always a relief as Manning has a habit of dropping some absolute clangers. In contrast, I never used to care much for T.I.C. either, but once you strip away the textbook lyrics and wensleydale chorus there's a cracking little tune hidden below with some really nice guitar work.

The Verdict: 3.999999... stars.

Starhammer | 3/5 |


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