Image: Manning Chia.
Having released music since 2019, last year saw the re-birth of Manning. The musical project of Manning Patston, Manning ushers in a new era for the musician and captures three years of artistic cultivation and growth. Presenting a matured outlook on love, relationships and finding your feet in your early twenties through the viewfinder of a coming-of-age setting, the five-track release is a refreshing collection of songs that builds itself on finding new perspective and meaning in every corner of the human existence.
Opening with engaging guitar chords on Dead To Me, Patston’s compelling vocals draw you into the songs indie-rock-meets-alt-folk sensibilities. Driven by a toe-tapping beat and simmering bass, the songs pairing of organic and electric tones creates a textural listening experience unfurling beneath relatable lyricism. On Dead To Me, he chases lust with a lover whilst shunning their friends who place roadblocks in front of their freedom. The desire continues on Sleep Without You, which finds Patston recalling on a long-distance relationship fuelled by an infatuation that blinded him to the complexities of distance within a romance. Relaxed guitar work flows beneath the musicians bright and airy performance, showcasing his range with the occasional foray into his higher register. The track introduces subtle threads of country woven into the songs overall pop-leaning indie-rock soundscape.
Patston channels Australian singer-songwriter luminary Vance Joy on Get Gone, the EP’s standout cut. His distinctive tones seep through the songs choppy guitar chords and are echoed by mesmerising harmonies, providing an impassioned vocal performance as he finds liberation in leaving behind toxic people whose presence interferes with your own joy and lust for life. On Heart’s On Fire, we’re then taken back to the early 2000’s. The songs opening plucked guitar melodies hark back to Jesse McCartney’s breakout-hit Beautiful Soul, a fitting comparison with the songs soul-baring nature. Thematically, we find the musician attempting to reach out to his partner to navigate the state of their relationship and searching for solid ground. He pleads that he’s trying to reach them, and hopes for brighter days on the horizon whilst unsure of what their future holds.
As we progress throughout the collection of songs, Patston pushes up against the confines of his indie-rock sound, introducing new elements such as 808’s and wedding bells in the lead up to the EP’s closer, Forever. Serving as the lead single from Manning, we’ve arrived full circle with the indie-rock-meets-alt-folk sonics that underscored Dead To Me. Whilst the opening track documented desire, Forever captures the emotions that arise as a relationship meets its demise. Confessional lyricism drives the song, as the conflict of heartbreak and empathy unfolds.
Across Manning, Patston has effortlessly crafted a body of work that exhibits his prowess as a songwriter and musician building a vivid realm to house his compositions. Exuding warmth and sentimental notions that allow for moments of relatability, the release is just the first stepping stone for the emerging artist towards a fruitful career.
Manning is out now!