This is the fourth album from Manning (as this is really a full-blown band now, and not just Guy Manning solo) and sees the song writing take on a more mature angle, moving away from the progressive scene into one that is far more British in outlook, almost as if Richard Thompson has been involved with Grace. There are also small passages where people are talking about relationships, which does give the album something of a ‘Dark Side Of the Moon’ feeling. Although the album does contain strong musicianship it is geared towards providing a strong backdrop for the emotive vocals and it is these that drive the album ever onwards. Of the musicians, special mention must be made of Laura Fowles whose sax playing has taken the songs into another area.
It is the album closer that shows Guy at his most inventive, as at 25 minutes long “Ragged Curtains” allows him to bring together styles from the early Seventies up to the present day. It starts gently with keyboards and woodwind, vocals murmuring gently over the top, and then it becomes a vehicle for sax/guitar interplay before going off again onto another tack.
All the way through is the impression that this is a ‘grown up’ album, and although Guy has temporarily lost some of the band they are still playing some dates in the near future. Guy will always be associated with Parallel Or Ninety Degrees and with Andy Tillison-Diskdrive guesting on this and temporarily covering live keys that association looks set to continue. An album that is much more than ‘just’ prog.
Issue 73 – April 2003