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Glamping - Roger Joseph Manning Jr.

Rejoice, Jellyfish fans!!

If you’re like me, you’re a Jellyfish fanatic that wakes up everyday craving the sugary, quirky pop that the band delivered with their two studio albums in the early 90’s. Those who have never heard of Jellyfish, listen very closely.

Roger Joseph Manning Jr. was a founding member of a now defunct pop band named Jellyfish. Their albums - Bellybutton and Spilt Milk - are two of the greatest traditional pop albums you will ever hear. Since the demise of Jellyfish, Manning has been the keyboard player in Beck’s band and has played with hundreds of the biggest musicians in the world, from Marilyn Manson and Blink-182 to David Bowie and Adele. His list of session work is on par with the greatest players of all time, but I want to concentrate on his work with that little band from the early 90’s that struggled to stay alive in the grunge enthusiastic climate of its time. 
Jellyfish incorporated elegant harmonies, along with quirky lyrics and percussion into their infectious hooks, which made for an auditory dreamscape of pop fare. It was a sound that nobody was really doing at the time, and a sound that nobody has been able to replicate since. But, with this 4-song Glamping EP, Manning gives us something that would fit in well with the most glorious of Jellyfish tunes.

The EP starts out with a song called “Operator,” and in the first 20 seconds we get a retro sounding keyboard riff with two small hand claps that lead us into the first verse. The song goes on with a light and breezy vocal, full and perfectly placed harmonies, and a few more handclaps. Welcome to pop heaven. 
Moving on to “Funhouse,” the mood gets a bit louder and more raucous while maintaining the pop sensibility that makes this music so damn special. Manning is a master of song. Nobody writes songs quite like this guy. The key elements as well as the subtle nuances in these songs are all perfectly played and perfectly placed. The sound is clean, smooth, quirky, and catchy - really catchy.

When I first heard the third track, “Is It All A Dream,” I was immediately attracted to the cool and mellow Fleetwood Mac feel of the song. This is one of those songs that takes you to another place. I have a hard time remembering my name when this song is on. The mood of the room and everything around me starts to turn into candy canes and rainbows, and for some reason it feels really good!

The final selection on the album takes a more solemn turn when Manning pays homage to Elton John. “I’m Not You Cowboy” makes mention of “Rocket Man” in the lyrics, while the clean baby grand piano sound is reminiscent of the greatest Elton hits. A slower, steadier song, “I’m Not Your Cowboy” starts simple and builds to glorious heights with some horns and harmonies. By the end of the song we are uplifted and ready for more - a lot more.

Four songs is like torture when they’re this good.
These songs are musically rich and spectacular. Roger Joseph Manning Jr. is someone that can embellish a song with all kinds of ear candy, but can somehow avoid a cluttered workspace. These are perfectly written, well produced, elegant pop offerings that are going to please a whole lot of fans hungry for Manning’s inimitable style.

Photo by Tim Manning

The Glamping EP is only available for purchase through Roger's PledgeMusic campaign. You can visit that site and purchase Glamping and all kinds of great Roger Joseph Manning Jr. memorabilia as well!

To hear the interview with Roger, CLICK HERE!!!

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