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Lifecoach: Alphawaves

Album Review

Second, superb airing for Phil Manley’s post-rock brainchild.

San Francisco’s Phil Manley has produced albums for bands including his labelmates Barn Owl and Golden Void, he’s the guitarist for Maryland post-rock trio Trans Am, and Life Coach is his solo project.

His second release under that name Alphawaves was conceived as one piece and holds together as such, despite numerous tonal shifts over its eight highly pleasurable tunes. Sunrise ushers us in on a wash of sitars, reverse electric guitars and hand cymbals before the Neu!-like title track kicks in. 

Jon Theodore’s pounding motorik drumbeat underpins a fizzy, melodic guitar duel between Manley and Golden Void’s Isaiah Mitchell: it’s like Robert Fripp jamming over Stereolab – irresistible. Shoegazey shuffle Limitless Possibilites tips a wink to the Cocteau Twins, and My Bloody Valentine meet Queens Of The Stone Age on strident space-rockers Fireball and Mind’s Eye

Into The Unknown’s feedback swathes are tempered by more of Theodore’s visceral skinwork, while Sunn O)))-esque dronescapes Life Experience and Ohm add a cosmic dimension to a mesmerising and whole-hearted album, the fruit of a rocker’s balls and a progger’s brain.

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