Fireworks

Manir Donaghue - 'Selene' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/34/c5/3d/3412_manirdonaghueselene_1363396011.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 16, 2013    
 
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The playing is strong and the production is first rate.

The second album from guitarist Manir Donaghue, ‘Selene’ is a nine song instrumental album. Not my sort of thing normally but I’m never one to form an opinion without at least trying something out.

‘Behemoth’ is a bizarre hybrid of an opening number, with distorted heavy guitars over a drum loop and some parping synth work. For the four minutes it lasted I’m afraid I was sat in a state of complete and utter apathy. ‘Interlude In Tavira’ is much better, with Donaghue playing gentle 12 string guitar along with some electric. The track is also one of several to feature a real drummer, in this case journeyman and sole guest Ron Wikso (Foreigner, David Lee Roth, Richie Sambora). However, the track doesn’t give Ron an awful lot to do.

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‘Rainbow Bridge’ is listenable as it takes a step towards Blackmore’s Night territory by embracing a renaissance feel. Here Manir handles all of the instruments but the lack of a vocal means my enthusiasm has waned after two of the four minutes. The centrepiece of the album is the title track, which is actually broken into six individually named parts, in order to give a twenty five minute long whole. Part one (‘Moon Over Water’) has some nice lead work but is a rather dull affair for the majority of its duration. This then merges into ‘Moonlight Chase’, an energetic piece and easily the best part of the record for me. Here Donaghue demonstrates some excellent guitar work before more looped drum samples and distorted guitars make up ‘Raindrops And Regrets’. ‘Summer Moon’ is based around some gentle guitar strumming before things ease towards an end with ‘No Memorial’ which makes up a key part of Manir’s instrumental tribute to his late friend Doug Boucher. The finale of ‘Ascension’ sees looped guitars accompanied by Donaghue’s own fret work.

The playing is strong and the production is first rate, but being a completely instrumental record means I find it very hard to get into. The way my tastes are, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a heavyweight player like Neal Schon, Steve Vai or Paul Gilbert, lack of vocals usually goes hand in hand with a lack of interest from me. Unfortunately for Manir, with no disrespect meant, ‘Selene’ proves to be no exception to my rule.

James Gaden

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