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Guy Manning - The Cure


Reviewed by: Stephanie Sollow

I wasn't quite sure what I was going to say about Guy Manning's latest, The Cure. It wasn't what I was expecting, but I honestly can't tell you what I was expecting. Something a little off kilter, perhaps. RIO maybe, or at least avant-garde. I like what I hear, however. But, I still didn't know what I was going to say -- until this word popped into my mind: Haunting. Haunting in that Manning's vocal melodies hang there in the air, stick in your mind, and draw you in for further examination. You get this strange sense that you know exactly what he's singing about even if you're not quite sure you know exactly. The emotional beats are places you've been before - moods you've felt, thoughts you've had.

Musically, there are hints at Genesis, Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan but nothing so very concrete as all that. It's a keyboard phrase here, and bit of atmosphere there, a particular rhythm...maybe it's the horn - in this case, sax - maybe it's the Hammond, the guitar...maybe it's everything and nothing at all.

This album is broken into three conceptual sections: Syndrome, Therapy, Prognosis. Underlying the concept is the extreme sensory deprivation - what journeys will the mind take if it is deprived of any outside stimuli? In some ways, that's a very frightening thought - what if you never come back? What if you never want to come back? It's been a long while since I saw Altered States, the William Hurt film of about 20 years ago, that film played with this same idea.

On the pure musical level, if you like any of the artists named above (though the percentage of Steely Dan in here is minute), you will like this. It's accessible on the surface, but once enthralled it is that much deeper. But, I recommend this album anyway, as Manning has created not just a album of music, but an experience.

 By the way, It was pointed out to me that it wasn't clear from what I did say as to whether I liked the album or not - the answer is YES, I do, quite a bit!

More about The Cure:

Track Listing: [Syndrome] Domicile (10:18) / [Therapy] Real Life (3:59) / A Strange Place (6:48) / Whispers On The Wire (7:33) / Songs Of Faith (11:44) / Falling (6:38) / [Prognosis] The Cure (17:34)    Total Time: 64:34

Guy Manning - guitars, keyboards, vocals, bass, mandolin, drums, percussion, soundscapes
Andy Tillison-Diskdrive - additional keyboards and drums
Jonathan Barrett - "the bass"
Simon Baskind - drums and percussion
Laura Fowles - sax
Ian Tothill - violin
Iain Fairbairn - violin
Dan & Julie Lyons - soundscapes 

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Review Stephanie Sollow