Sauce Magazine Review
“The Woman on The Edge of The World”
Many would know Deb as the female vocalist from ARIA award winning Wild Pumpkins at Midnight or more recently as one half of the blues/roots Fringe Dwellers. Like her contemporaries, Deb had always enjoyed more recognition inEurope. Angie Hart and Monique Brumby have publicly acknowledged the importance of Manskey’s influence.
I won’t go into why it took 13 years to make this album but in many ways the songs tell so many beautiful stories of sadness and sorrow, perhaps it’s better to let the music tell the story.
This is a stripped back acoustic album, just vocal and guitar. “Drowning On Dry Land” is perhaps the most intense song on this album, far more intimidating than anything PJ Harvey, Sinead O’Connor or Patti Smith have ever committed to tape.
”Sandy Bay” is an un-mistakenly Tasmanian song, capturing feel of the suburb and referencing the landmarks, as John Lennon did when he sang the Rubber Soul era, “In My Life”. But it’s not an entirely miserable experience. “Mr Invincible” is a wonderful up-tempo slice of pop, as is “Beautiful Life”. This album has been a long time in the making, it might be more accurately described as a greatest hits album, no doubt the toughest decision was deciding which of the hundreds of great songs she wrote in its preparation to banish to the orphanage.
Manskey possesses one of the finest voices imaginable and if you buy this album you will discover, she is also one of the finest songwriters.
“Debra Manskey – a voice with depth, range and power”
Just occasionally you hear a voice that remains with you forever, no matter the singer moves on or the band implodes – the voice remains. There are of course many individual voices and interpreting distinction is down to the listener. Voices that remain riveted to my memory are Roger Chapman (Family), with his tremulous vibrato, Peter Hammill (Van der Graaf Generator) and his distinctive vocal acrobatics and Tim Goulding (Dr Strangely Strange) master of the weird folk song.
Now I’ve another voice to add to my list, Debra Manskey, (sometime lead singer with Australian folk rockers, the Wild Pumpkins at Midnight – sadly now defunct).
Debra’s voice is an instrument of depth, range and power that once heard is not forgotten. Often, singers accompany an instrument, and usually that’s a guitar. Debra turns that model on its head and her voice becomes the lead and the guitar drifts into the background – in fact you could dispense with it altogether and just listen to that voice.
There are so many levels in her vocal repertoire. Her range soars from soft and faintly unearthly with leaps and sweeps, through raw, demanding and edgy to driven, aggressive and unsettling as it reaches out to command attention.
Debra has only released a four-track EP ‘Live Sampler’ but promises a solo studio album, ‘The Woman on The Edge of The World’ due out next year. Frankly, that’s not soon enough – this is a talent that you have to hear, and the sooner the better.