Roger Joseph Manning Jr. Catnip Dynamite

Roger Joseph Manning Jr. Catnip Dynamite
Even though Jellyfish only had a couple of hits in the early '90s, they still made Roger Manning (as he was known then) a valuable commodity. He's spent the time since working with the likes of Beck and doing other session work but it wasn't until 2006 that his first solo album finally appeared. It was well received, particularly in Japan, where he first released follow-up Catnip Dynamite last year. Now available in North America (with three bonus live tracks), his sophomore effort, with Manning Jr. doing pretty much everything himself, is proof positive of his deserved status in the power pop community. The songs push all the right buttons, relying on his lineage and influences, including the likes of Badfinger and 10cc, although there is almost a little bit too much of everything. Somehow, the excesses of Catnip Dynamite aren't too rich - the multi-layered arrangements and rather long songs work well in the hands of a master like Manning Jr. because of the way he so carefully constructs the songs. That gives the album a denseness that makes each subsequent listen rewarding and will help to keep his reputation alive and well until the next record finally appears. (Oglio)