I Am The Manic Whale - 'Everything Beautiful In Time' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 17, 2017    
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The tracks are generally lengthy but this is never gratuitous, irrelevant or contrived, just allowing the songs to evolve properly.

This was an impulse purchase based on a review I'd read elsewhere and, whilst I agree with that reviewer's overall assessment of the album's considerable merits, I don't quite see eye-to-eye with them regarding points of reference. For me, if one can imagine a blend of A.C.T. chops and humour mixed with Moon Safari vocal sensibilities plus hints of Big Big Train, particularly in the telling of stories, then that gives you a good feel of where these guys are coming from musically. The tracks are generally lengthy but this is never gratuitous, irrelevant or contrived, just allowing the songs to evolve properly.

Started as a solo project by the material's composer Michael Whiteman (vocals, bass, keys and guitar) it developed into a band arrangement as he was joined by John Murphy (keys, vocals), David Addis (guitars, backing vocals) and Ben Hartley (drums, backing vocals) and together they have produced a mighty fine debut album. 'Open Your Eyes' has that A.C.T. style bounce and is full of wonderful refrains and melodies plus the first of many well-arranged vocal harmonies. 'Pages' tells of the printing revolution and, in the same way as BBT, they make the tale work seamlessly with the music.

'Princess Strange' provides an uplifting musical background to very dark subject matter, that of trolling or cyber-bulling. The lyrics are cleverly constructed and make their point very well. The closing instrumental section has an MS feel to it. 'Circles (Show Love)' is a sixteen-minute epic that not unexpectedly weaves its way through various phases, not least a passage that reminds one of early Spock's Beard followed by a section that could be Transatlantic. The multi-part vocal arrangement is superb and the track flows wonderfully even as the tempos and styles change.

'Clock Of The Long Now' has an A Cappella opening that could easily be MS, while 'The Mess' is an acoustically driven number; the lyrics about fatherhood are rather poignant. Closing song 'Derelict' clocks in at twenty-one minutes and tells the story of a swimming pool – I kid you not – but again, like BBT, they have a knack for this story-telling lark and make it work. As with the rest of the album, the keyboards and guitar work is excellent whilst the vocals and the various melodies are tremendous, combining to push all the right buttons.

Gary Marshall

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