Review by Matthew Crick
If the Mano le Tough blueprint is to create music “that’s more than hands in the air 5am moments in a club”, then his debut LP, Changing Days, could possibly be the antidote for those excessive moments of partying.
And through this album, we could also be encountering the more accomplished Niall Mannion mood at present, rather than the unpolished Mano sound of the past. The Irishman did what many of us would barely survive a weekend from, and eloped to Berlin in his youth to work on his burgeoning marriage to music. Several liaisons later, including notable releases on Mirau and Buzzin Fly, Permanent Vacation were inevitably the ideal working partner to support this particular Mano project.
So, you could say that expectations were ostensibly high then. It opens with ‘Cannibalise’, an eerie and brooding proclamation of self-indulgence in the modern world. The tone does get a little more light-hearted from here on in, with ‘Everything You’ve Done Before’ offering the rewarding use of both an electric organ and Mano’s vocals – elements that feature throughout the album.
When you eventually drift on to ‘Please’, this could so easily be the archetypal 5am track that we’ve all been craving after a hedonistic evening. A stunning, plaintive song that avoids sentimentality. Basically a welcomed five minute cuddle.
‘Moments Of Truth’ then quickly revives you from sedation by furnishing a slap around the face as it announces “You ain’t going to bed just yet my friend”. The latter stages of the album, although slightly more nocturnal and kinetic, could also be the very beginning, overall displaying a clever melodic cycle.
Mano may have produced music that doesn’t necessarily redefine the boundaries, however he is one of the best out there who provokes emotion and reflection.