Album Review: Mano Le Tough / ‘Changing Days’ (Permanent Vacation)



Aside from seeming to have invented or borrowed his stage name from a third-rate wrestler, the acclaimed collector of compliments Mano Le Tough is one to wear his heart on his sleeve at the same time as showing a softened shrewdness. With an understanding of electronic songs and pseudo-folk fusion, deep house to think to, and wavily-colored looks into a Balearic wishing well, it’s a debut record that has Niall Mannion moving around the dancefloor just when you think you’ve got him settled in one position.

There may be shrugs at the album’s early and returning pallor, such as on opening track “Cannibalize” and “Primative People” playing like a porch Jose Gonzalez with a little more electronic arsenal at his disposal. Progressively there becomes a selection of narrow yet expressive grooves to get into — “Everything You’ve Done Before” comes together like a patchwork orchestra — and a development of cosmic disco-themed color (“Changing Days”, the late check-in of “The Sea Inside”). With Mannion’s enigma coming to the fore, playing wary lookout on “Dreaming Youth” and humming sweet deep electro house nothings on “A Thing From Above” — and with, of course, a fit of vocal acting lethargically captivated, it becomes a good session of thoughtful headphone house able to tilt your sofa’s incline. Not a maker of big statements, but a creator of an accomplished presence and persona.

File under: John Talabot, Deniz Kurtel, Blackbelt Andersen