After Guyís previous album A Matter of Life and Death, I wasnít sure how he could top it but he did with his latest album One Small Step. One Small Step continues on with same strong song writing found on A Matter of Life and Death but this time itís done mostly in a acoustic and folk way where as the previous album had a more rock sound. I think with an acoustic approach, we the listeners, get a better feel for the way Guy arranges the music and lyrics. The music still has the catchy melodies and like I said about the previous album, it feels like youíre listening to a story told to you by an old friend. It does cross over at times into the pop realm which makes the more die-hard prog fan have a more opinionated view as to the validity of being called progressive. Okay the album isnít overtly complex when it comes to the instrumentation but it does (in my opinion) fall within the genre of progressive rock. (Personally, those critics need to listen more closely to the music and not their preconceived notions of what is or isn't progressive rock. In my opinion!)
Now in just about every review, Guyís singing gets compared often to that of Ian Anderson. While that is true in the most part, I donít think Guy is a clone of Ianís in fact I feel Guyís vocal abilities are much different that Ianís. Better? Not sure, but I believe that Guy is more rooted in the singer/songwriter vein than Ian is. And to me that is where the difference lies.
For the most part, One Small Step is a concept album especially the 8 part title track. The other four songs fit in nicely musically. In many ways I find myself thinking that this and the previous album are a yin and yang. They just flow so easily when listening to them back to back. This type of quality is what makes Guy Manning one of the better musicians of the modern progressive rock genre. If you enjoyed his previous works, then getting One Small Step is a no brainer. If youíre unaware of his music, this is a nice place to start but youíll find as I did, that once you get one of Guyís albums you feel compelled to completing the catalog.
One Small Step is one of my favorite releases of 2005 and gets my highest recommendation. So what are you waiting for, a personal invitation? Go get your copy now!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on January 28th, 2006