Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
Rock & Roll has never really been pop. The genre’s defiant image relies too heavily on its uncompromising persona and temperamental sound. Heavy vocals and herculean percussion. It’s the archetype, and, quite frankly, it works. But what happens when pop and rock mesh–like really get it on? Roger Joseph Manning Jr.’s Catnip Dynamite happens. The 14-track album is everything you wished it would be–raucous, infectious, and tough. And, honestly, maybe we should have seen Manning’s sonic onslaught coming given the music virtuoso’s work as a keyboardist, vocalist, arranger and songwriter behind the scenes with artists from Johnny Cash to Paris Hilton to Beck. His credits also include fickle films like Lost In Translation and Team America. From the Beatles-esque folk cut “My Girl” to the nightclub mish mash “Imaginary Friends” the album doesn’t disappoint. Like a true visionary, there’s more to salivate over: “Down In Front” harkens to the 1970s music scene in the U.K. when luminaries like Sparks and Alvin Stardust flooded the airwaves with rebellious cuts. This is happy rock, revolutionary rock, sentimental rock, instinct rock, and yet, it is so much more. It’s cinematic.