Edge

Keyboard player pays tribute to ’70s AM radio

Roger Joseph Manning Jr. is best known as Beck’s keyboard player, but once upon a time he was one of the founding members of Jellyfish, a short-lived power pop band in the early ’90s that faded with the advent of grunge but heavily influenced bands like the Ben Folds Five.

On his first solo album, Solid State Warrior, Manning pays tribute to ’70s AM radio with intricately arranged pop confections, Queen-esque power ballads, and gorgeous falsetto lullabies. As the gifted multi-instrumentalist rolls out the synth strings, four-part harmonies, and pseudo-jazz chord progressions, you can almost see the fake wood paneling and shag carpeting of a Nixon-era den.

The lyrics, ranging from the acid trip psychedelia of “The Land of Pure Imagination” to the boy-girl heartache of “Wish it Would Rain,” are sometimes unmemorable but the music is so heartfelt and the orchestrations so lush that such shortcomings are easily forgiven.

For years a first-rate studio musician, Manning is a master at layering nuanced keyboard and guitar lines beneath his sunny hooks and multi-tracked vocals, giving his songs a vibrancy lacking from the more minimalist arrangements of ’90s and contemporary rock.

As long as you have an appreciation for uplifting, well-crafted pop music, Solid State Warrior should fit right alongside your Weezer and Matthew Sweet records. And if you like this album, definitely check out Jellyfish’s Spilt Milk, pre-grunge pop’s last hurrah.

Solid State Warrior is available as a Japanese import from Amazon.com and other internet purveyors.

Matt Gajewski can be contacted at m.gajewski@umiami.edu.

February 28, 2006

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The University of Miami showed women’s basketball coach Katie Meier how much it appreciates her on F ...

Frank Garis first watched Jalen Rivers from the opposite sideline, and the offensive lineman was imp ...

George Stewart had a big problem, and little time to solve it. It was Week 6 of the 2018 season, and ...

One of the interesting subplots of this Hurricanes season will be watching the evolution of a bunch ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday: ▪ Coach Manny Diaz said the quarterback race among Ta ...

The Emmy Award-winning journalist, who grew up in Miami and started her career in Spanish language t ...

Nursing researchers and music therapists test a simple and cost-effective way of motivating critical ...

The University of Miami Libraries offer readers multiple ways to access the books, which are popular ...

Rosenstiel School researcher Martin Grosell weighs in on how marine life in the Gulf could be affect ...

Varona, an attorney and educator who specializes in administrative law, communications and media law ...

University of Miami Director of Athletics Blake James announced Friday a contract extension for head ...

Adrian Del Castillo garnered his second Freshman All-America honor of the year, appearing on the Per ...

Two-time Miami women's basketball team co-captain Laura Cornelius is set to start her professio ...

Courtney spent nine years previously on Jim Larranaga's staff from 1996-2005. ...

The University of Miami track and field program received 17 All-America honors at the conclusion of ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.