Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Jack McManus

A cracking debut album. Here's my Amazon review.
I enjoyed this. It's silly labelling somebody as "the next big thing" - because by next week, they'll be "the last big thing". But McManus is an old-school musician, who has put a lot of work into the songs on this album to give them an "artlessly simple" feel, when in fact there's quite a lot going on. If he can continue to work as hard, then he should be able to build a willing audience for his songs.

His songs are a bit like Robbie Williams, but without so much "whine" - so much of Williams' desperation to be liked. Lyrically, they are clever; the melodies are catchy, and do unexpected things with rhythm and harmony enough to make him sound unique, but not so much that it sounds contrived. The range of expression is pretty good. The arrangements and instrumentation are conservative - reminiscent of 70's bands - but imaginative within that framework. This is an excellent, workmanlike product, and one which I'll come back to regularly.
I gave it four stars - but it's grown on me, and it's heading towards five stars. I listened to the first part of the CD in the car this afternoon, and every one of the first seven tracks is quality music.