They say that prog is dead but I Am The Manic Whale are attempting to disprove that. So enamoured are this band of jamming out wailing guitar solos and picturesque electronica you would be forgiven for thinking that the band are a product of the early 70s. In fact, the vocals of Michael Whiteman are so 70’s, if he doesn’t have a perm and sideburns I am going to be very disappointed. Hell, I am expecting the entire band to resemble a terrorist cell from The Professionals. The final proof of their Prog-dom? They have a flute player on the books. Case closed, folks.
‘Open Your Eyes’ swaggers with rock guitars, screaming and unrepentant. Surging along on a righteous cavalcade of drums Everything Beautiful In Time is off to a live-wire start.
‘Pages’: two parts swashbuckling adventure time, three parts Final Fantasy world map.
‘Circles (Show Love)’ launches with pastoral acoustic guitar which gives way to the kind of air guitar biz that forced punk into creation. Over the next 16 minutes you’ll find drum solos and extended jams, all wrapped up a song that occasionally locks into something you dance and nod your head to, like a shaft of sunlight piercing through the stormy clouds. Building to a revelatory climax the end product is a glorious prog symphony.
The haunting piano ballad of ‘Derelict’ sees Michael Whiteman’s vocals at full stretch; warm and intimate. All of a sudden we’re near to classical territory, but approaching the five minute mark, the unpredictability we have come to expect pitches us head first into funk-disco territory. Over 21 minutes you’ll lose track of where this song is going and where it ever went.
A long and immaculately constructed vision of pomp and splendour; head-spinning escarpments. Special…