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Album Reviews

Manager’s Eponymous Debut Will Cure What Ails You

Manager (l-r): John Dorcas, Ron Hester, Lori Cantu, Jon Chinn

Band – Manager
Album / Label – Manager / Texacobra Records
Rating – 4.5 / 5


In this world that is full of noise and has no soothing salve for our worries, Manager has the magical elixir destined to make life just a little bit better.

Their eponymous debut on Texacobra Records, encompassing nine tracks of aural goodness, is the album we’ve been yearning for in 2017. The relief you will feel is visceral, with a nod to 90’s stalwarts Guided by Voices and Bob Mould. And yet, their sound is refreshing and new.

Comprised of Jon Chinn (guitar, vocals), Ron Hester (guitar, vocals), Lori Cantu (bass) and John Dorcas (drums), Manager strikes a chord that resonates with the times in which we find ourselves.

Although based in Brooklyn, NY, the band has an Ohio lineage that is unmistakable in its sound. Ed. – we’ll have an in-depth interview with the band next week ahead of their May 5 show in Columbus at Spacebar.

Opening with Off to the Races, they set the pace with a guitar-driven groove that is as danceable as it is poignant. It’s the perfect song to capture the feeling of a world in which no one knows what will happen next.

Parades sees Chinn making the melancholy seem joyous with his vocal styling. The groove laid down by the band makes your toes start tapping in rhythm unconsciously.

Manager’s self-titled debut is a “must-have”

On Party Service, you hear definite overtones of the Ohio lineage referenced above. This could easily have been penned by Robert Pollard. The main difference being that Manager pulls-off that quintessential “Guided by Voices” sound better than Pollard and company could. As a bonus, the harmonies remind one of Weezer in its heyday.

Electrical Camp shows that the band can rock out, channeling some of Tom Petty’s most well-known guitar work. The infectious groove builds upon a solid foundation of simple, yet elegant musicianship. The longing comes through loud and clear on “I wish that I could take her with me…”

“The past is the past, and the future is a surprise…” sings Chinn on The Match. Acknowledging the past, with what is to come still a mystery, they create an ephemeral feeling of uncertainty. Could this be fleeting or long-lasting? No one knows.

The cerebral-sounding title track is not quite a ballad with its pacing. Lamenting the nine-to-five grind, Manager reminds us that each one of us is the manager of our own lives.

You Haven’t the Guts cuts through the bullshit of uncertainty, calling you out. The reinforce the notion that one needs to be decisive, right or wrong, and go with it.

The slower styling of Welcome Wagon basks in the melancholy, warming throughout its tenure. Making the unpleasant feel better, they weave the song through darkness and into an eventual brightness.

The final track on the album, Sounds Like Me, begins with jangly guitars that quickly fall into a wonderful groove that showcases the tightness with which these four musicians play. It has the feel of being in the twilight of the day, the week, or even your life. “Holding out for what’s the biggest prize…” is something we can all relate to, in one form or another.

The nine tracks that fill-out their debut release sees Manager dropping one of the strongest debut albums heard in quite some time. Is this a perfect album? No, but it’s damn close. Their eponymous debut is seriously a “must-have” for any aficionado of good music.

It really is just what the doctor ordered to soothe your worried soul.

Manager – Off to the Races


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