Phil Manley Life Coach

Phil Manley Life Coach
If you've been paying any sort of attention to post-rock over the last two decades, chances are you've heard the work of Phil Manley. Since the early '90s, the guitarist/recording engineer has played alongside Trans Am, Oneida, the Fucking Champs and Jonas Reinhardt, to name a few. Yet with Life Coach, Manley makes his solo debut, further mining an obsession with '70s German rock. This means Life Coach makes no attempt to hide its love for bands like Harmonia, Cluster and Popul Vuh, and in fact, sounds best at its most kosmische, such as on the delay-drenched "Night Visions" and the synth-pulsing "FT2 Theme." Unfortunately, not all of Life Coach toes the same line, with a good half of the record made up of loose-ended folk séances ("Gay Bathers," "Make Good Choices") and stripped-down, acoustic post-rockers ("Commercial Potential," "Lawrence, KS"), neither of which packs the same head-tripping punch as the more retro-futurist numbers. The result is a bit of a disjointed listen, leaving you wondering how much better Life Coach could have been if Manley went full-on Kraut instead of stopping halfway. (Thrill Jockey)