Drop Prince into county Dublin, make him young, white, layer on some pained and strained vocals, and you’d have a fairly decent representation of Myles Manley and his EP ‘Jagger Manqué’. And, being honest, it’s really quite nice.
A self-professed pop star, Myles is really trying to live to it. Or at least sound like it. Take and Take gives and gives a sickly veneer of eighties dance-floor. The kind of dance-floor that would, once upon a time, have reminded you of the rolled up jacket sleeves of Miami Vice. Nowadays, it’s hard not to hear huge chunks of the Drive soundtrack and Cliff Martinez.
Dog still slips into the same shoes as Take and Take, especially in terms of percussion and the twiddling synths. But here, we’re landed with the fragility of Myles’ voice, even more so than what precedes it and follows it. It’s almost indescribable, but you can find a shake akin to Anthony Hegarty in the vocal. It’s not very Drive at all. The whole EP turns out to be far more vulnerable and unsettling than it previously seemed…
Myles is back on top with Old Habits Die Hard, at least musically. While he’s “dancing around and partying and having fun” in the country, all doesn’t seem quite right. In fact, the whole Myles Manley world – music and vocals alike – don’t seem quite right. The mix of the trendy beats and the hanging, gut-wrenching vocals are enough to make you think twice about the mood being struck here. He does sing about “walking on broken glass” after all.
Then comes London Underground a song with sweet and clinking steel-drum synths, and a vibe that makes you want to sway on a beach, under some palm trees. Of course, the lyrics deal with the philosophy of one of the busiest public transport systems in the world, so yet again, Myles is playing with the mood of the listener. If, according to Myles, the London Underground is a “nasty game of push and pull”, his own music is cut from the same cloth.
Catch Myles on Bandcamp and at a venue near you soon.