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Lando Manning, Brighter Days EP – a review

Lando Manning's Brighter Days EP melds melancholia with psychedelia, echoing legends like Drake and Barrett in a hopeful, intimate journey.

Release Date
15 February 2024
Lando Manning, Brighter Days EP
Lando Manning's Brighter Days EP blends Nick Drake's melancholia with Syd Barrett's psychedelia, offering a folk and acid-tinged sound. Influenced by legends like Dylan and Vashti Bunyan, Manning crafts intimate, hopeful tracks that echo a journey towards brighter days with unique, rainy-day psychedelia.

Have you read Rob Chapman’s brilliant Unsung:Unsaid yet? It imagines several meetings between Nick Drake and Syd Barrett, joining the two of them together, weaving their stories and personalities. It’s absolutely incredible; poetic, simple, beautiful. 

It’s worth mentioning because you’d swear that Lando Manning’s Brighter Days EP is the physical manifestation of those meetings – Nick Drake melancholia holding hands with Barrett’s wracked, paisley-swirled psychedelia.

Manning is a Brighton-based folk-y, slightly acid-tinged and one who cites Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and Vashti Bunyan as influences. With Brighter Days he has attempted to remind us, and himself to a degree, that there are better days ‘round the corner. It is a sleepy, dreamy, wistful thing. 

‘Moondrenched Eyes’ is stripped of anything unnecessary. The production is intimate, incredibly up-close, so that you can hear every string squeak, every shaky inhaled breath. Manning’s dreamscape of rain and lyricism is set from early on, a gentle melancholy where tears are blinked from lashes. 

The Barrett influences float to the fore on ‘Driftwood’. It is mainly just an acoustic guitar and Manning’s pillow-y baritone but, somehow, a whole world is conjured. Think about Syd on those rain-drenched, psych-sore, lonely wanderings – the ones where he was disconnected from the world around him. Manning sounds equally disconnected, a wonky music-box piano and tape hiss accompanying a sleepy-strum as he notes, “you’ll find me/torn at the seams”. Yet, right there at the heart of things, is a lovely song.

The psychedelic softness rolls onwards into ‘Sugar in the Sun’. The 25th hour of a 24-hour happening, it sounds spent, all fuzzy ‘round the edges. Maybe the smallest hint of Linda Perhacs; maybe just a bit of sunlight coming through the rain. The production, the voice, the guitar lines, all of them drawing you closer, joining with Manning to help find those better days.

Finally, the title track starts with raindrop percussion and unfolds into an introvert’s lullaby. If there are Brighter Days ahead, the shoe-gaze-y, crystalline guitars will need to push the clouds away first.

Brighter Days might not have the originality of Cerys Hafana’s The Bitter EP or Frankie Archer’s Never So Red, but it is a beautifully sleepy evocation of rainy psychedelia. Perfect for a February afternoon when you know that there are better days ahead. 

Lando Manning’s Brighter Days EP is out now. It can be ordered via Lando’s Bandcamp page.