CD Title: On Track
Label: Giant Electric Pea (2017)
Rating: Great Stuff 4/5
Damanek is the latest musical release to feature the work of Guy Manning. And although there are many others shown as performing with the band, the band name is made up of parts of key members: Dan Mash, Guy Manning and Marek Arnold. I have to say I really liked this album. Having reviewed a good many Manning albums previously, to my ear, he seems to have saved many of his best melodies for this album. Perhaps it was the opportunity to work with these particular musicians in this particular setting but there are so many gorgeous tunes here and they’re coupled with some very exotic music. The core musical foundation is best described as Melodic Prog but then some of the tunes are infused with Middle-Eastern World Beat Sounds, some African vibes, even a little soul and R&B!. Arnold’s sax and clarinet work put together with Manning’s familiar vocals creates a very intoxicating mix of music that is pleasing on many levels. On top of that many of these songs turn on a musical dime and deliver some outstanding riffs and themes that brought an instant smile to my face. And that happened a lot! I was reminded of the Prog style made popular by bands such as Barclay James Harvest or Supertramp. There’s a lot of great music to take in, including a couple very eclectic tunes that will surprise listeners, but over all this is a stellar set of compositions that show a slightly different side of Guy Manning’s musical approach. As it should. This is really great stuff! Enjoyable from start to finish, this is an easy recommendation to old and new fans alike. If you’ve never listened to Guy Manning in the past, Damanek is the perfect place to start.