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Manning, Roger Joseph (Jnr) - 2006 The Land Of Pure Imagination

ARTIST: Manning, Roger Joseph (Jnr)
ALBUM: The Land Of Pure Imagination
LABEL: Cordless Recordings
YEAR: 2006


LINEUP: Roger Joseph Manning Jnr - all vocals, all instruments

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Land of Pure Imagination * 02 Too Late For Us Now * 03 Wish It Would Rain * 04 Loser * 05 Sandman * 06 Pray For The Many * 07 Dragonfly * 08 Creeple People * 09 In The Name Of Romance * 10 You Were Right * 11 Appleby



What a year 2006 has been for power pop fans! Britain's The Feeling and America's Scissor Sisters reminded us that the 70's pop rock sound really did matter. Spain's The Winnerys and their brilliant 'Daily Urban Times' has given us the freshest take on The Kinks, Byrds and The Beatles heard in years and the upcoming Electric Light Orchestra influenced debut from L.E.O 'Alpacas Orgling' promises to take pop music to new heights. Even with these outstanding releases, the icing on the cake this year has got to be the return of former Jellyfish member Roger Joseph Manning Jr. You remember Jellyfish don't you? Two outstanding albums 'Bellybutton' (1990) and 'Spilt Milk' (1993) that still send power pop fans hearts fluttering. Their landmark work stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of Queen, The Beatles and Beach Boys. Unfortunately at the time, the public at large didn't get it and I suppose their image, adorning themselves in floppy hats, platform shoes, and colourful garb didn't help matters much, but for those of us who did 'get it', it was great fun! Since then the band has developed a large and at times rabid cult following, influencing numerous bands and artists to this day. After the Jellyfish split, Manning joined Imperial Drag, releasing one well received disc before splitting up. Never to rest on his laurels, Manning took the plunge into session work for artists like Air and Beck, the soundtrack for the film 'Lost in Translation' and his electronic music project Moog Cookbook.

The Songs
Earlier this year, Manning released his first solo disc 'Solid State Warrior' in Japan to critical high praise. 'The Land Of Pure Imagination' is the US version of that disc with three tracks removed, replaced with three new tracks. Confused? According to Manning's web site this wasn't a marketing ploy, just the way it worked out. That's fine with me. I have both versions, but it would have been nice to have the Japanese tracks available as a bonus for people who might not be that familiar with his work and the fact that 'Solid State Warrior' was so expensive as an import, but I digress. 'Pray for the Many', 'In The Name Of Romance' and 'Appleby' are the new songs and all three are superb. Manning has a an impressive understanding and knowledge of pop history and his candy coated melodies drip with influences ranging from Burt Bacharach, Beach Boys and Queen to Gilbert O'Sullivan and 10cc. The Queen-lite of 'Wish It Would It Rain' and the psychedelic mellow gold of 'Dragonfly' are my personal faves, but the disc as a whole is nothing but pure pop happiness that is impossible to resist.

In Summary
Both 'The Land Of Pure Imagination' and the Japanese counterpart will most assuredly make my top ten list of 2006 along with the releases mentioned earlier. Let's hope Manning continues down this creative path and we don't have to wait too long for his next release. Since the demise of Jellyfish his song craft has been sorely missed and it's wonderful to hear him at his very best once again. Welcome back Roger!

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#1 | Nick C on November 05 2006 13:52:29
Just for info. Not Lame records are doing a ltd edition of 200 copies that come with a free CDR in a stickered sleeve of the 3 tracks on the Japanese edition. Might have sold out by now though...
#2 | Nick C on August 23 2008 14:38:37
Two years on and this still gets loads of plays here at Abode de la Clarkson. In fact I'd go as far as to say that it has tyre levered it's way into my all time classics list ... however long that is. Roger Manning has a voice that just brims with...hmm wistfulness (is that a word?), and has the kind of sparkle in it that you usually associate with a persons eyes.
Just pure fun pop rock with Loser to lounge lizardy crooning with Dragonfly. Creeple Peeple has a choruse that will gel instantly in yer old noggin and has you singing it for days...even years afterwards in the quiet moments when you least expect it!
A really beautifully crafted album and his latest Catnip Dynamite is worth checking out too.

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