Decades of musical expertise lead to this
Known best for being Beck’s right-hand man and being a founding member of Jellyfish and Imperial Drag, singer-songwriter Roger Joseph Manning Jr. is back with his EP Glamping. Coming a decade after his last release, Catnip Dynamite in 2008, Manning’s use of psychedelic pop reminds his most dedicated fans that even a decade off from music making doesn’t change the rhythm he has always possessed. The four-track EP is a perfect example of less always being more.
The four tracks, “Operator,” “Funhouse,” “Is It All a Dream” and “I’m Not Your Cowboy,” take the listener on a trip through time as if Manning never stopped making music at all. Each track combines specific ingredients from his past endeavors and has something for every single fan. From indie rock guitar and drums to pop-rock synthesizers and beats, the familiarity of the sounds can make any listener feel like they are back in 2008.
“Operator” mixes electric piano and layered voices to give the listener a truly groovy, vintage, chorus-y song that could almost pay homage to a young Jim Croce. In “I’m Not Your Cowboy”, Manning used the actual grand baby piano in his parents North Carolina home to masterfully put together a classic road-trip song. Both “Funhouse” and “Is It All a Dream” dip in and out of the ’60s and ’70s influences of jazz rhythms, pop keyboards and beautiful guitar and piano work. Glamping is what happens when you let a good thing marinate over time.
“My fans are also patient. It’s been 24 years since Jellyfish last harmonized, 22 since Imperial Drag last rocked, 21 since the Moog Cookbook synthesized, 15 since TV Eyes electrified, 11 since Malibu computerized and 10 since my last solo album, Catnip Dynamite, had you all singing and drumming along unashamedly behind the steering wheel of your car. And still, my fans are right here with me, waiting patiently in support of my next move,” Manning said for Pledge Music.
The EP combines a classic sound many are familiar with when it comes to Manning. A vintage-filter blankets the cool riffs from yesteryear while floating gently down a river in the countryside, making for a somewhat perfect summer soundtrack. Each track is as unique as ever, and they all sound a bit like home through his use of mellow-dramatic guitar and piano combinations. His ability to fit each piece together smoothly like puzzle pieces is a trait he’s carried with him for years. “Glamping,” also known as glam camping, is exactly what this EP is, down to earth and familiar with a touch of modern 2018 zing.