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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly impressive creativity
I couldn't write eloquently about music if I tried, so I don't, but this wondrous album deserves more praise. It should certainly have a much bigger audience than I imagine it has. There are a mixture of song styles on here and each song has more complex structure than most everyday pop, which this definitely isn't. Of course, there are echoes of Jellyfish in many places...
Published on 24 Oct 2009 by T Hornbeam

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nonesensical & Confused
This album should never have been made, let alone put on general sale to the public. Sometimes less is more and this collection of afterthoughts and childish reflections, mirrors the CD cover artwork.
Still selling on the back of Bellybutton and Spilt Milk, it proves that as a member of Jellyfish, Manning Jr. definately had a purpose and creative bent, however, on...
Published 6 months ago by Neil Hamblett


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly impressive creativity, 24 Oct 2009
By 
T Hornbeam (Rickmansworth) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catnipdynamite (Audio CD)
I couldn't write eloquently about music if I tried, so I don't, but this wondrous album deserves more praise. It should certainly have a much bigger audience than I imagine it has. There are a mixture of song styles on here and each song has more complex structure than most everyday pop, which this definitely isn't. Of course, there are echoes of Jellyfish in many places in the production, harmonies and style, but there is a great deal different here too. Each song is beautifully crafted, this man has an amazing musical talent, and very intelligent ear. I'm so musically impressed by the whole album that I just have to stop and listen in awe. There are so many addictively delicious moments on this album that I just want to hear them several times before moving on. Definitely catnip for the ear. I don't think he has one of the greatest voices out there but what he uses it to do, especially the harmonies, make it a delight to listen to. Too good for the listening masses, as Jellyfish was in some ways, but for those who can appreciate creativity on this level you'll hopefully love it as much as I do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 16 Dec 2013
By 
Anthony Healy (Mornington, Co Meath Ireland) - See all my reviews
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What can you say about Roger Joseph Manning. The melodies, the arrangements, the man is a tour de force.
I will still be listening to this LP when I'm old and grey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overflowing with Quality, 17 Aug 2013
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T. Smith - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catnipdynamite (Audio CD)
I enjoy inventive and slightly eccentric music and I like melody-writers who catch the ear in the inspired way that, say, Brian Wilson or Elliott Smith or Harry Nilsson do. This music does all that (but it does so without the background melancholy in their work). I'd have to say at the outset that RJM Jr has not, in one sense, produced a cutting edge cd here as there are no up-to-the-minute references. But it IS creativity of the highest order which means that it doesn't need to bother with being of a certain time. Roger Manning has transcended such superficialities and you hear in his music that he is interested only in his own agenda. Consequently, his songs give you great verses and uplifting choruses and then he'll add some more delightful twists and change the tempo and layer superb harmonies - and do it again and again! There isn't a song on the album that I don't love. Tinsel Town is wonderful, but it's not alone. Buy this.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catnip Dynamite will blow you away!, 27 Nov 2009
By 
A. Sweeney "I don't care what you call me" (Brighton, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catnipdynamite (Audio CD)
Roger Joseph Manning Jr., founding member of Jellyfish and all-round multi-talented keyboard player for hire, returns with his second solo album, "Catnip Dynamite", first released in Japan in March 2008, but released to the rest of the world in 2009 - and, frankly, it's excellent. Granted, this album may not be everybody's cup of tea, but if you are a lover of E.L.O., Jellyfish and all of the melodic power-pop bands, I'd be astounded if you didn't love this album. In fact, with the first track, "The Quickening", it's like listening to a great, lost E.L.O. album opener from the late 70s/early 80s and the brilliant glam rocker "Down In Front" is also reminiscent of Jeff Lynne's world-conquering outfit. The catchy, toe-tapping "Love's Never Half As Good" is like hearing something that would have happily fitted in on Supertramp's "Breakfast In America" - and try listening to it for the first time without a big smile breaking out across your face! "The Turnstile At Heaven's Gate" is almost pure Sparks, evoking the Mael flamboyant, eclectic and dramatic musical style wonderfully.

This is an album slightly out of time, but for anyone who loved the musical times this album harks back to, this melodic and slightly prog-rock influenced, brilliantly written collection has the potential to become a firm favourite. It sometimes threatens to go the wrong side of cheesy ("My Girl") but never quite crosses that line. Although the influences are readily identifiable and this release certainly has a bit of a retro feel to it, there is no doubt that this album is full of originality. It's absolutely overflowing with creativity ("Haunted Henry") and the musicianship is absolutely top notch - check out the keyboard solo in "Imaginary Friend" and the beautiful harmonies throughout. There is also a hint of musical theatre in a couple of the later tracks - "Survival Machine" and "Living In End Times" both sound as if they could have come straight from a soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic stage play - but, thankfully, rather a good one.

With the 2009 re-release, we're treated to three live bonus tracks, the most notable of which is a cover of Elton John's "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding", from the 1973 masterpiece "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Although some of the tracks walk a fine line between influence and pastiche, there isn't anything which misfires here. From beginning to end, "Catnip Dynamite" is an absolute joy to listen to and it's unmistakeably different to anything else I've heard this year. Manning, himself, has described this album as "another roller coaster ride of sonic and emotional ups and downs and distraction in the greatest sense of the word" and it's difficult to disagree with the description. Basically, if your idea of musical hell is all of the acts and influences I've mentioned in this review, then steer well clear of this album. Otherwise, give it a go. Personally, I think it's absolutely fantastic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You have to hear this, 9 July 2013
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Every song is so instantly recognisable that you will find yourself singing them after just 1 listen.

So many influences that you can guess anybody from metallica to the beach boys and be right

"Down in Front" is proving a favourite in my house full of shorter people
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4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect, 25 April 2011
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PD Flood (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catnipdynamite (Audio CD)
This is a superb follow up to Land Of Pure Imagination (which was rather disappointing to this avid Jellyfish fan). I hear influences of Beach Boys, Paul McCartney, ELO, Rush, Genesis, Queen, XTC.

Favourite tracks for me are The Quickening, Imaginary Friend, Turnstyle at Heaven's Gate, the impossibly catchy Down In Front and the piano/vocal singalong Drive Thru Girl.

If it wasn't for the bizarre and rather tedious 'Survival Machine', I'd give this 5 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another great album!, 6 Nov 2009
This review is from: Catnipdynamite (Audio CD)
Totally agree with the other reviewers. Great songs - imaginative chords, melodies and harmonies, amazing production, great singing. All by one man in his studio - he's a genius and I can't wait to hear his next solo album. The bonus live tracks are great too, especially Loves Lies Bleeding. I'd love to see him live - come to the UK Roger!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roger Joseph Manning, does it again !....this guy, can do no wrong !, 3 Mar 2009
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Mr. R. Haden "hdrob9" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is the follow up to, The Land Of Pure Imagination, and again, it's pure pop perfection ! The former member of Jellyfish, should be a huge star, but there's no justice in this world, sadly !
This latest collection of songs, are just as infectious, as those found on The Land Of...
There's not a weak track, and it's well worth every penny spent ! Take the plunge, and purchase, you won't be disappointed !
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nonesensical & Confused, 15 Feb 2014
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This album should never have been made, let alone put on general sale to the public. Sometimes less is more and this collection of afterthoughts and childish reflections, mirrors the CD cover artwork.
Still selling on the back of Bellybutton and Spilt Milk, it proves that as a member of Jellyfish, Manning Jr. definately had a purpose and creative bent, however, on his own, he has lost direction and any regard of what music is all about.
You will be disappointed.
I would love a refund but that's the chance you take.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor!, 9 Feb 2011
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Nick Redfern "thenickmeister" (Lincoln, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catnipdynamite (Audio CD)
This was flagged up as a "People Who Bought Tinted Windows also bought this"

Who? No-one in their right mind would buy this derivative drivel. Not an ounce of originality in this album, I'd give it away if I knew anyone who'd take it off my hands. It's nothing like Tinted Windows! Avoid at all costs.
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