Award-winning musician and visual artist Dean Manning is back with a brand new album, Sunday Mountain, which signals a notable change in his style and sound.
Known for his blending of rock, pop, and electronic musical styles, this sophomore solo effort sees the co-founder of Leonardo’s Bride and Holidays on Ice heading in a much more moody direction. Despite its seemingly pleasant title, Sunday Mountain is a record infused with lush, dreary soundscapes.
Opening with distorted guitars of ‘Be My Friend’, Manning sets the tone of the record early with warped, shrill but lush production.
Guitar and rock elements still play a key part throughout the record, but the likes of tracks like ‘Carry On’, the closing title track, and the instrumental ‘Red Egg’ see Manning dabble in organs and synth-heavy soundscapes with minimal percussion, filled up by warm bass hanging in the background; and he succeeds in setting a creepy atmosphere.
However, while there are really exciting moments of Manning dipping his toes into more experimental territory, where this album really succeeds is where he combines these sounds and elements with tracks more within his wheelhouse. The results are refreshingly entertaining.
The big highlights in this instance is the guitar-driven ‘Casino Town’, the darkly humorous lyrics and story of ‘Hola Senorita’, and ‘Messy Time’, a forlorn but catchy ballad with a heartbreaking story in the lyrics.
Within these digital soundscapes, Manning has created a very moody record. It’s a sublime record with moments of genuine power in its songs. Sunday Mountain is an album that won’t fit into every scenario, but if you are in the right mood, it’s a gem. Listen below.