it took me quite a while to form a coherent opinion about this new full-length album by manual (almost as long as I came to like the first album by the band - "until tomorrow"). whether it is a sign of a "difficult" music, or something very unique, not belonging to the usual genre of electronica, or whether it is something else - it is hard to say.
composition like opening "midnight is where the day begins" or "the distance" carry the same appeal as the first manual album with its meticulous composition, this almost autistic sense of perfection that makes it a wonderful sound treat. there is a flowing, very acoustic rich melody on the foreground, and those lovely unexpected breaks, when the rhythm stops, suspends in mid-air, tests your attention and then drops down unexpectedly, swirling and shimmering with energy, alternating between flowing deep melody, almost chaotic (but always gentle) noises, and soft ambient interludes. this combination of unexpected composition, attention to details, very rich sound is what makes manual so unique.
on the other hand there are more acoustic compositions, with a touch of guitar and strings, that do work most of the time, but every once in a while a part of the track here and there does tend to drag on. those moments seem to lose that special subtlety and intricacy that I have always appreciated, instead they flow a little too quietly and a little too peacefully. most of the time the moment you notice it, the music springs back to life and you instantly forget that moment of apprehension. tracks like "keeps coming back", "astoria", "cassy" would be perfect examples. maybe it's a matter of closely following each track, immersing oneself into it, appreciating the subtlety and the pace of the building melody, as opposed to the instant gratification of idm trickery.
it could be an easy album to get into for some, it could be something that you would end up selling off, but in any case this is something to check out (if you have already listened to "until tomorrow" that is).