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Music Review - 'Flying First Class' Pete Mancini (dm)

Pete Mancini - Flying First Class

19 August 2019

 

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Pete Mancini is a gifted lyricist – an evocative storyteller who has the ability to summon images of childhood joy, all-night benders, and an encounter of love at first sight, with just a few choice phrases. It is easy to invest in his troubadour tales, especially those that appear on his new record, “Flying First Class.”

One of the joys of the Americana genre – the milieu in which Mancini maneuvers – is that it still takes seriously the importance of lyrics: Lyrics that have complexity, depth, and balance intellectual ambition and emotional resonance. According to that criterion, “Flying First Class” is an unadulterated success.

The problem with the record is that it never quite rises out of musical languor. Mancini’s soft vocal delivery and light acoustic guitar provide conversational warmth, but his backup support is often equally unenthusiastic. As a result, the songs often sound derivative as they drift into each other from the closing notes to opening bars.

Everyone from John Mellencamp to James McMurtry demonstrates how profound lyrics do not suffer from a robust musical delivery. The words actually benefit from more muscular music. “Flying First Class” proves the rule rather than become the exception.

Mancini offers a portrait of America that is heartfelt, thoughtful, and impossible not to feel deep within your bones, but the sonic accompaniment feels like a first draft. The album would benefit from musical treatment as thorough as its lyrical exploration

 

 David Masciotra

 

 

David Masciotra (www.davidmasciotra.com) is the author of four books, including Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing, 2017) and Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

To read all of David's reviews, click here 

  

 

 


 

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