Manning - The Cure (2000, 64:39, Cyclops CYCL 088)

After his first solo outing "Tall Stories For Small Children" Guy Manning returns with "The Cure" under the guise of Manning as a band. I have not heard his previous album, so I have no way of comparison, but I like what I have heard here. Before writing this review I have given this disc plenty of spins in my CD-player and this benefited my view on this album. What we have is a concept album that deals with the deprivation of your senses if I have to believe the booklet. I have not studied the lyrics yet so won't go into that.

On "The Cure" Guy is helped by his 'old' pal Andy Tillison-Diskdrive, who adds his distinctive keyboard style, along with some other (ex) members of the Parallel Or 90 Degrees clan (of which Guy is also part). The album is divided into 3 parts. The opening (Syndrome) with only 1 title "Domicile" a modern take on VDGG and could have been a PO90 track, the ripping Hammond is a distinct ATD feature.

The next part, (Therapy) consists of 5 parts. The soft and gentle introduction "Real life" is a quiet and emotive piece with acoustic guitar and gentle keyboards where we hear Mr. Manning's whispering voice that reminds me of a cross between Ian Anderson and Chris DeBurgh (this has to be taken in a positive light). He has one of those voices you either like or dislike. (Therapy) takes us through a variety of styles one moment you think you hear a Pink Floyd atmosphere or a Genesis touch. The next you feel a Porcupine Tree reference coming up however it is always difficult to pinpoint a certain reference.

Closing the album is the long epic (Prognosis), which only consists of "The Cure". Again a reference point is found, this time in the later work of Peter Gabriel. The track shifts through various guises including some fine Hammond playing, percussives and symphonic washes and atmospheric soundscapes ending like Genesis jamming with Pink Floyd.

A fine piece of work that, though not outstanding, will provide you with some pleasant listening. The only minor is that the drums are often programmed or triggered so the sound is a little thin.

***+ (Maurice @ Backgound Magazine)