one faint deluded smile

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Phil Manzanera - 6PM

Manzanera is, ofcourse, the guitarist from Roxy Music and, therefore, was elevated to god-like heights in my teen rock heroes list. On John Cale's "Fear" his treated guitar became a talisman for me - 'this is what guitar playing is all about' and so on... And then I lost track of him, becoming more interested in spikier post-punk, as Roxy sped into their crooning soft rock pocket.

His 1st solo album "Diamond Head" was patchy but still had quite a few energising moments. "801 Live" was better with taut rock cover versions that let me enjoy good musicianship without betraying my punky sensibilities. His role in Eno's "Taking Tiger Mountain" was important but I still dislike the thin sound he used (this must have been at Eno's request - after consulting his Oblique Strategies maybe? - as he's never used it before or since). There were many other solo and 801 records released but the snippetts I'd heard all sounded uninteresting at best.

But when I heard that Eno and Wyatt and others from "Diamond Head" were playing on his new one I thought it might reinvent my love for his style.

Unfortunately, I get a similar feeling from this one as I do to Wyatt's last release "Cuckooland": worthy but uninspired. There are a couple of nice tracks but they're all covered in this 'tasty' musicianship that I still loathe. The main problem, though, is the songs themselves which consist of tired chord changes and simplistic, unimaginative melodies. Maybe PM should have used other singers instead of his own as well - there are so many tell-tale signs of computer generated note tweaking on the vocals that it could almost be a release by Cher. And this is on tunes that are extremely limited in their range. Definitely not one I'll cherish, then.


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