Second album from Guy Manning’s multinational band soars to greater heights.
To describe Damanek as a ‘supergroup’ may stretch credulity at first sight. After all, none of the four principal protagonists – multi-instrumentalist Guy
Manning, bassist Dan Mash, saxophonist Marek Arnold and keyboardist Sean Timms (also of Southern Empire) – sit atop the prog pyramid. However, this excellent successor to the band’s debut album substantiates the case for that ‘supergroup’ tag to be applied. Fewer than 18 months after the release of Damanek debut album On Track, In Flight belies the alacrity with which it has emerged. Indeed, it’s an even stronger and more consistent release than its predecessor. Prog snobs may turn their noses up at some of the catchy, jazzy material included here – Skyboat rocks like a turbocharged Supertramp and The Crawler has a chorus to seduce mainstream rock audiences. But Damanek have plenty of prog chops to showcase too, most obviously on the three-part, 30-minute epic Big Eastern, while Manning’s topical lyrics are as thought-provoking as ever. On this evidence, Timms has had a hand in two of the year’s best prog albums, and the forthcoming Damanek/Southern Empire tour will be unmissable.