Sec­ond al­bum from Guy Man­ning’s multi­na­tional band soars to greater heights.

Prog - - Intro -

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.

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