Damanek - On Track,
Damanek is a new project from Guy Manning, where he has been joined by Dan Mash (bass), Marek Arnold (sax, clarinet, keyboards) and Sean Timms (keyboards, banjo, backing vocals) and then on top of that there are quite a few guests including Nick Magnus and Phideaux. Guy had disbanded Manning, and was then invited to join a new band called United Progressive Fraternity to which he also then brought in Dan and Marek. After the release of the debut album Guy started writing for the second, only for the band to fold, so he decided to start a new one to use the songs, and asked Dan and Marek to be involved, hence the name (DAn, MANning and MarEK), with Sean joining later.
I have long been a fan of Guy’s music, and spent a very pleasant evening with him in his studio some dozen years or so ago, and have enjoyed all albums he has been involved with from PO90 through Manning and The Tangent, so I knew I was going to enjoy this right from the off, and that was indeed immediately the case. Guy has an innate sense of melody, and his songs are always enjoyable on first hearing, with strong arrangements and a feeling that every note is in exactly the right place, played on the right instrument. This is commercial symphonic pop influenced classic crossover progressive rock that oozes class and confidence in equal measures. I can’t pick a favourite as all eight songs are simply superb. This may be a debut release, but all the guys involved have been around the scene for some time and it shows. Let’s hope it’s not long until the next one.