Hailing from Warrington in Cheshire, England, Chris Manasseh is a rising singer/songwriter whose folk-tinged, upbeat acoustic songs revolve around his guitar and his voice. After playing at open mics and folk clubs, Manasseh decided to go public with his music and recorded The Sun Destroys the Sky, his first full-length album in a home studio.
Manasseh carries the high energy of “The Old Man of Charing Cross” with his voice and his effortless, care-free style evokes thoughts of a traveling minstrel who finds joy in bringing music to other people. Classic chord progressions are paired with a traditional folk strumming pattern in “Until the Next Time Round” making for a familiar, inviting musical atmosphere.
The storytelling aspect of Manasseh’s music is highlighted in “The Ballad of the Idwal Shepherd” as well as in the ominous, dark “The Deserters.” Even though the format and instrumentation is the same throughout this album, Manasseh manages to incorporate many musical variations in his strumming, chording and vocal techniques to prevent the album from becoming tedious or repetitive. This is especially evident in “Seven Years” a beautiful, ambient piece with ethereal chords and floating vocals, as well as in “Sideways” featuring precise guitar picking.
“The Lost Sailor” begins with an upbeat, dynamic guitar strumming pattern, and as Manasseh joins in with his voice, the energy of the song crescendos continually throughout the course of the tune. The next song “Go Numb” is a definite highlight of the album as it combines unconventional musical choices with mellow, accessible singing and masterful lyrics.
As the album comes to a close with “The Cold Cold Ground” a bright ditty with a catchy, repeated vocal section. The song as a whole exudes a worry-free, untroubled attitude, in stark contrast to the dark, even ghastly lyrics. The final song on the record “Another Lost Sailor” holds no surprises for the listener, but instead maintains the unique sound that Chris Manasseh embodies.
Overall, The Sun Destroys The Sky is an enjoyable introduction to Chris Manasseh and is indicative of excellent future works from this very talented musician.
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