Album: Phil Manzanera

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The Independent Culture

The suicide of his close friend the rock journalist Ian MacDonald has inspired the Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera to the most assured work of his solo career in 6PM, an album that looks fondly back to the late-Sixties ideals on which their friendship was built. Accordingly, the musical tone of the album draws heavily on that era, with an early Pink Floyd feel to tracks such as "Broken Dreams" and "Love Devotion", and old chums such as Robert Wyatt and Dave Gilmour appearing on the closing, 15-minute five-part suite "The Cissbury Ring". Eno's treatments, along with the presence of the drummer Paul Thompson and the reedsman Andy Mackay, lend a pronounced Roxy feel to parts of the album, too; the latter's plaintive oboe on "Love Devotion" is particularly evocative. The stand-out tracks are "Green Spikey Cactus", whose confident swagger and "come together right now" chorus embody the optimism of the Sixties, and "Wish You Well", Manzanera's send-off to MacDonald, in which 12-string guitar and harmonica (by Chrissie Hynde) carry the fond epitaph: "You found a way to make yourself be heard/ Seems like the time had come to leave The People's World."