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Articles Home » 2009 Articles » Manning, Roger Joseph (Jnr) - 2009 Catnip Dynamite
Manning, Roger Joseph (Jnr) - 2009 Catnip Dynamite

ARTIST: Roger Manning Jnr
ALBUM: Catnip Dynamite
LABEL: Oglio Records
SERIAL: 820342
YEAR: 2009


LINEUP: Roger Joseph Manning Jr - all Instruments

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Quickening * 02 Love's Never Half As Good * 03 Down In Front * 04 My Girl * 05 Imaginary Friend * 06 Haunted Henry * 07 Tinsel Town (The Alter Of Celebrity) * 08 The Turnstile At Heaven's Gate (The Tale Of The Karmic Castaway) * 09 Survival Machine * 10 Living In End Times * 11 Drive Thru Girl * [Bonus Tracks] 12 Europa And The Pirate Twins * 13 You Were Right * 14 Love Lies Bleeding



The Willie Wonka of rock returns with a new effort chock full of sugary delights. Hard to believe, but it's been four long years since 'Solid State Warrior' saw release in Japan and three since the U.S. alternate version 'The Land Of Pure Imagination' leaving Manning and Jellyfish fans feeling like Veruca Salt starved for more pop treats and another golden ticket. Of course, Roger has kept himself busy with other projects including TV Eyes and the disco/synth wave of Malibu, but none of these discs came close to what fans know Manning is capable of.

The Songs
After playing 'Catnip Dynamite' every day for the last two weeks, I can say with confidence this CD is everything Jellyfish fans could hope for and more as Manning guides the listener through his colourful, sometimes scary musical world. Tunes like 'The Quickening' and the Harry Nilsson/Beach Boys groove of 'Love's Never Half As Good' should leave long time followers feeling spin dizzy as will the '60s kaleidoscope pastiche of 'Imaginary Friend' swirling like a pinwheel at a dark Bradbury-esque carnival and yet, through all the sugar coated melodies and flights of fancy not everything Manning creates is sunshine and rainbows. Lyrically, Manning tackles darker issues like 'Haunted Henry'; a not-so-charming tale of a war veteran dealing with his demons or the frightening 'Survival Machine' which in all its melodic beauty addresses the horror that is nuclear war. Not as impressive is 'Drive Thru Girl' which is a strange bar room Bonzo Dog Band sing-a-long and while I suppose it's meant as a bit of comedic levity after the lyrically heavy 'Living in the End Times', it just doesn't hold up in comparison to the rest of the disc.

In Summary
For this the American version of 'Catnip Dynamite', three bonus live tracks have been added of varying quality. Recorded in Japan, the band doesn't sound very together and their cover of Thomas Dolby's 'Europa and the Pirate Twins' while interesting, doesn't do the song or Dolby justice although Elton John's 'Love Lies Bleeding' succeeds simply because I've never heard anyone else do it other than Elton and I'll give Manning an A+ for taking the risk and giving it a go!

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#1 | Nick C on April 18 2009 23:40:44
Another excellent album from RJMJ - I'm torn as to my favourite of his two releases so....I won't choose. All fantastic catchy stuff. I love it when he does songs with that dreamy feel like My Girl, Love's Never Half as Good on this album and Dragonfly and Appleby off his first.
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