PHIL MANZANERA / 801
Polydor Deluxe 2302 074
Yes, I am back with new energy and enthusiasm, and what a great record to start with. Phil Manzanera's brilliant collaboration with his ex-Roxy Music partner, Brian Eno with host of other top musicians including Lol Creme and Kevin Godley (of 10cc fame). has always been a favorite of mine. The music melds Manzanera's incredible guitar work like that found in his solo albums, particularly "K-Scope", with quirky lyrics and vocals by Eno, reminiscent of "Another Green World" and "Here Come the Warm Jets". The ultra-slick engineering is by Rhett Davies, the man who later fashioned the soundscape of Roxy Music's magnificent swansong "Avalon". There are touches here and there from Godley and Creme that add to the moody atmosphere.
Highlights are the moody title track with a nice segue into the upbeat "Flight 19". "Island" is a gentle instrumental which sets us up for my favorite track on Side One called "Law and Order" with Eno on lead vocal. All the main songs feature a chorus, and it's delightful how the many different voices harmonize and blend seamlessly, adding an streamlined elegance to the proceedings, unusual for a rock record of this (or any) era. In fact, its the most memorable sonic feature, the kind of thing that will hum in your head for days.
Side Two loses absolutely no luster as it opens with a short but magnificent track "Que?" in which Manzanera conjures up an illusion of supersonic speed, that leads into the the mechanical chug that underlies the "City of Light".All the tracks here are great, and the album is closed perfectly with "That Falling Feeling" The way the music supports the lyric here "You can feel it, you can feel it moving in" is nothing short of brilliant. As the chorus repeats that line several times, instruments die out one by one, as a fogbank of Eno's atmospherics rolls, enveloping the listener in it it;s strange ambience. If you look for this, do get the UK import - the pressing is perfect and the sound perfectly balanced.