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Phil Manley - Life Coach [Thrill Jockey Records - 2011]

I listened to much of this recording without realizing Phil Manley was a founding member of the band Trans Am, who I missed out on way back when.  This is good since my view of this album won't be colored by any assumptions of post-rock or what it's about.

It's a pretty interesting mix of pseudo-Krautrock ambience and John Fahey-style acoustic guitar explorations.  The production sounds very much like it could've been produced by Conny Plank -- how Manly managed to do this, I'll never know.  Much of this also reminds me of a little known group called Woo, just in how these tracks are constructed in a seemingly disjointed and enigmatic way.  But most of all, if you're expecting Trans Am's typical sub-prog-rock material, or post-rock in general, it's not going to be evident here, especially without a full band.

Still Manley has me convinced of his musical prowess.  This is a very impressive solo album that would make me want to seek out Trans Am's back catalog in the future

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Lawrence J. Patti
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