Fireworks

Manning - 'The Root, The Leaf & The Bone' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/b8/ba/10/manning-the-root-the-leaf-and-the-bone-9-1393099960.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 22, 2014    
 
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Please try and grab a listen ...

There's always something very comforting about a new album from the band Manning, whether it be the carefully considered lyrical content or the masterfully assembled musical ideas and variety of instrumentation used. This, their fourteenth recorded foray, is no different in these respects.

Unlike previous albums such as 'Charlestown', 'Songs From The Bilston House' and 'Anser's Tree', this one does not have an overall conceptual basis, and yet does have an underlying theme of "change" and I do like the way that the opening imagery within the album booklet includes all the elements brought out within the nine songs comprising this release.

Here you will find little in the way of lead guitar passages, but you will find electrifying "fiddle" sections, exquisite flute passages, languid saxophone infusions, some great keyboard moments (John Young's organ solo on 'Old School' is one of many such delights here) and even Bassoon on the mysterious and introspective 'Autumn Song' from among the cabal of guest musicians. The core band (again changed somewhat from the previous assemblage) provides sterling support to their leader Guy Manning, and of course the album is really his latest "baby". Not only providing vocals and flexing his multi-instrumentalist skills (must find out what a "Diddlybow" is!!) he also oversees recording and production duties and within limited budgetary constraints this is yet another triumph.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Is this a progressive rock album? Insofar as most of the tracks are quite lengthy (the opening, title track impressively weaving to a smidgeon under twelve minutes) if that is the definition of "progressive" then yes it is. But from my perception it is simply a magical, if quirky series of stories set to music that are full of surprises, unusual instrumentation and fascinating ideas and characters (Eleanor Rigby, Mr Jones, Mrs Crowther, the Man from U.N.C.L.E, foreign bankers taking their girlfriends for sex and afternoon tea) melded together to produce an album that is worthy of being heard by anyone who is not generically blinkered but simply adores beautiful, mainly quite gentle rock music.

As a collector of certain memorabilia, I found 'Palace Of Delight' a particular lyrical and musical gem, but you will undoubtedly find your own favourites within this album and I suspect that 'The Huntsman & The Poacher' with its fabulous singalong chorus will be a highlight for many. Please try and grab a listen...

Paul Jerome Smith

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