Everything is Fine
Ghosts are knocking on walls
( TRACT ) 2005
Portland, Oregonian Marc Manning (yes, Philadelphia - you may call him yours as well) is - to say the near least - an extremely talented singer / songwriter / artist that should be in the players of many, many more listeners.
Ghosts are knocking on walls, a collection of recordings from 2003, has recently been properly pressed and released by Indiana-grounded Tract Records (the album first appeared as a split collaboration cd-r with THEATH a year and some back). What this all comes down to is you now have just as proper the opportunity to own this set of jewels (plus a few added selections) than ever before. Manning, on this album joined by a core of participating players (five listed) , sounds as if he places himself in a spacious, hollow room - finely tuned electric guitar in hand, wide open amp placed beside him - and simply lets loose the beautifully crafted thoughts in his mind. Sounds roll up to the near-infinite ceiling and reverberate through each crevice before making the descent downward to meet the layers of instrumentation structured around them. "Burning Coals", which hosts a guest vocalist in Sara Gallo, opens with the lines "walk on burning coals, it's what you know / you can walk on broken glass, it's how you go" - that reflect both the somber and wintry tone most EIF compositions encapsulate. Following gem "Cold Click" revolves around a full band including percussion and accompanying guitars that starkly reveal Everything is Fine can sound undeniably melancholy, all while driving huge walls of sound into the atmosphere. This is not your murky, closed door folkie weeping into a Tascam - this is a cavern-like chamber filled with overpowering talent that likely operates best when his heart has just been struck by the downpours in life. Just hear the imagery cast on "Long night", with lines such as "creatures they run 'round the house, scratching the walls with their antlers - and they're glowin'" - a long night that may be indeed. Bound with Manning's resounding vocals, an electro-acoustic guitar and slight piano twinkles - this is EIF at full speed.
Being the completest and long-time fan of Marc's music ( and Sara Gallo at that - Legend of Boggy Creek, anyone?), it is with absolute confidence I say that Ghosts are knocking is the perfect primer for those not already familiar with his immense discography. From the opening vocals on "1000 seconds" right through "The day is done", Manning's lyrical style and emotion will draw listeners who claim to be fans of Great Lake Swimmers' Tony Drekka and the hauntingly recording style of Kramer (see: Galaxie 500).
"My time is mine - so make up your mind." Everything is Fine. Now hear "Ostrich" and you may be set. Ghosts are knocking on walls is in the top 5 for most important albums of 2005 - you just should have heard it before now.
kaleb :: (10.10.05)