Monday, 20 January 2014

SKUTCH MANOS - ALBUM REVIEW

Skutch Manos - Mimosa 
Skutch Manos - Mimosa

There are few trios of words that strike fear in to the heart of this reviewer more than 'Acoustic Instrumental Album' but that's exactly what I've been presented with here by Mancunian three piece Skutch Manos. Simon Cowell Documentary is potentially worse but at least I don't have to review that. However, I am nothing if not fair so I will give this a fair hearing. The opening track, 'Mimosa', is nine minutes long (not a great start) so I had to go and make a cup of tea before I started but when I did start I was instantly glad I made time for this collection. This opening salvo is a triumph of wondrous, intermingling acoustic guitar notes played over subtle double bass and percussion. It is guitar wizard Arlen Connelly who is behind this blend of classical, Spanish, rock and jazz genres that sounds (musically) better than it sounds (on paper). 'Black Coffee' is a bit heavy on the Jazz influence for my tastes but the mellow melodies of 'Electric Heart' and the Jose Gonzalez stomp of 'Boondogglers Empty Chair' are right up my acoustic alley.

The slightly sinister lullaby opening to the creepily titled 'Wakey Wakey Boys And Girls' soon gives way to a mariachi style onslaught from Connelly's guitar and you can almost see the tumbleweeds rolling past the saloon doors. 'Words' would be perfect for an obscure detective show soundtrack while 'Classical Gas' is a loyal reworking of the Mason Williams staple. The percussion of Holly Prest plays a huge part on the undulating 'Silver Daggers' as the tune shudders and jerks in to life like the first steps of Frankenstein's monster. The romantic melodies of 'Fallen' would be a great soundtrack to a romantic proposal of marriage but make it quick as it only lasts 58 seconds. Then again, the next track up is 'The Rabbit' which is a perky, Spring-time infused tune which lasts over six minutes so providing he/she says you've at least got something to dance around to afterwards. It's gonna be mighty awkward if they say no though*. The closing tune, 'Delivered By The Warm Glow Of A Yellow Afternoon', is a gentle, Tuscan breeze of a song that will have most people yearning for warmer summer days and a sense of carefree abandonment. This collection of songs is a thing of beauty and perfect music for certain situations (listening to on the beach, in the bath or during those more romantic moments in life). I wouldn't listen to it on a long night drive though, that's just a health warning.

*Listen With Monger accepts no responsibility for failed marriage proposals.



Live Dates:

3rd April - Klondyke Club, Manchester
4th April - Matt'n'Phreds, Manchester

27th April - Hilary Step, Manchester

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