Andrew Manley has been a guitar and keyboard teacher for the last seventeen years. He has worked in schools and taught privately but also has played in several bands as well. On his recent album Escape he goes by the Moniker Andyman in which he brings us nine instrumental tracks, which flirt with a wide range of styles. None of the stylistic jumps feel too far fetched but he delves into genres such as prog-rock, a dash of new age and music you might expect to hear at a medieval renaissance fair. Escape is largely vacant of hooks but relies on instrumental ear candy to keep your interest levels up.
Manley recorded the album himself and for a DIY album it sounds pretty good. At the same time the recording would be a tad underwhelming if I was told that Escape was recorded in a professional studio. The DIY sound is mostly apparent on the guitar, which sometimes sounds thin and lacks some of the gloss you hear on a commercial album.
The album starts with “Overtime,” which is rooted in prog-rock. It lies somewhere between Rush and Yes and ends up being one of the most rocking songs on the album. Manley combines ‘80s arpeggiated synths with distorted guitars, a climbing bass line and a steady beat. The song sounds triumphant and slightly cheesy but in a good way. It would be a good fit to be placed in a montage from an ‘80s movie.
The next track “Just Is” combines acoustic guitar with digital horns. Mike Oldfield came to mind when listening to this track. “Insomnia” is more triumphant sounding than the first track as Manley implements bright synths with guitars. It isn’t until “Rush” that he throws in that medieval sounding music that nerds would be dancing to trying to reenact a scene from Brave Heart. There is a bit of that but it’s ultimately very traditional folk music and Manley’s weapon of choice here is the guitar.
Manley goes perhaps a bit too much of course with his next track “Coffee, Taxi.” He mixes in some funk into this song, which was unexpected coming off of “Rush.” It wasn’t a bad track; it just took me by surprise. “ Romanza Electronica” is on the verge of straight up techno while closer “Holiday” has arguably the best guitar work on the album.
Escape could be a bit more focused in terms of themes but overall has some enjoyable instrumental songs. I can’t see the album having much of an effect on a younger generation but if you have Pink Floyd, Yes and Mike Oldfield in constant rotation then you will want to check this out.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook