Dean Manning is a talented creative who will transport you to simpler times in his new sophomore solo album Sunday Mountain. You won’t be able to listen to this album half-heartedly as Sunday Mountain will take you on a well-crafted soft rock and dream pop journey of heartache and adventure.
The indie-pop icon has been keeping busy for the past sixteen years since his last solo album, collaborating with bands Leonardo’s Bride and Holidays on Ice, but now it’s time for his inventive charm to take centre stage.
The whole album feels entirely his, a quality sometimes missing these days due to increasing consumer demands for new music. But Manning’s true artistic flare bravely shines through in Sunday Mountain.
Opening with the explosive Be My Friend, Manning’s infectious chorus will have you singing along before you even know it. The easy transition into Carry On is filled with Manning’s soothing vocals and dream-like instruments that wistfully sound reminiscent of a soft Tame Impala track, but like all of Manning’s songs, it is still very much his own.
Hola Senorita quickens the tempo after Casino Town and Red Egg and pays homage to Manning’s Greek heritage. Manning’s hazy yet sweet vocals contradict the somewhat dark story he is describing. Dean’s artistic and cultural flair is explored through the use of a laterna (Greek instrument) in the song’s outro that poetically encapsulates the song as a whole.
“There’s a guy who plays one here in Athens, pushing it through the streets, winding it as he walks. He’s always dressed in a suit and hat. One day we got chatting. He opened it up to show me what was inside. I recorded it there on the street,” explains Manning.
Twenty Paces diversifies the album’s sound again, with a subtle yet evident build of urgency in Manning’s lyrics “what is it you want, why don’t you just say what you want and make it easy.” His frustration is dripping out of the song, intensified by the repetition and guitar ballad. It is the perfect track to crank up as loud as it can go the next time you feel irritated with your partner.
Manning dials it down a notch with January 4 with his trance-like instrumental track, that cascades and rolls through the senses before easing into Messy Time which continues to slow down time through his highly emotional vocals and indulgent melodies. I’d wait for a rainy day before you listen to this one.
The closing track will transport you to the mountain and the space beyond through an unconventional fusion of almost ghostly instruments and fantastical lyrics. It feels like a parting gift from Manning himself.
Check out the brilliant Sunday Mountain below: