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Jack McManus Either Side Of Midnight Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

You'll have fun listening to this little slice of cheerfulness.

Helen Groom 2008

Packed full of easy-on-the-ears melodies, this album has 'nice' written across it in large, radio friendly letters. It's as chipper as can be, with a relentless parade of piano-based pop hooks that pass by in a flurry of pleasantness in an undemanding-yet-lovely way. Jack McManus is another successful notch in the bedpost of the Brit School, following in the footsteps of fellow graduates, Leona Lewis, Kate Nash, Adele and Katie Melua, and will no doubt bothering the top of the charts in a similar manner once this debut album hits the shops. McManus is another piano man, who was apparently raised listening to Elton John and Billy Joel. The music certainly sunk in, because he has come up with some truly joyous, swooping piano hooks. Whether you like it or not, these tunes are going to worm their way into your brain.

Lead single Bang On The Piano is a bit of a Ronseal moment, with McManus giving the old Joanna a bit of a pounding. It's all to good effect; and it's absolutely impossible to feel sad while listening to it.

You Can Make It Happen and You Think I Don't Care are not bad but just a bit too middle of the road to make much of an impression. Not so with She's Gone which not only has a smattering of '80s power guitar about it, but then kicks into a killer chorus.

Album closer Amy, however, is the real treat. McManus works a string section into the song beautifully, wrapping it round the melody and making it feel like an integral part of the music rather than something tacked on to make it feel 'epic'. It is genuinely and completely lovely.

Essentially this is an album where you should just sit back and enjoy it. It's mainstream all the way, and it won't ask too much of you, but you'll have fun listening to this little slice of cheerfulness. And you never know, you might even like it.

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