Rob Mancini - 'Rock N Roll Circus' (GMG Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Mark Ashby   
Monday, 02 January 2012 05:15

Rob-Mancini-Rock-N-Roll-Circus-170x170Rob Mancini is an Irish guitarist. He is of German-Italian descent. He plays all the instruments on this 13-track album, and sings all the vocals. He also produced it, in his own studio, and has released it on his own label. His wife does backing vocals. And that's about all you really need to know.


The result is very much an early '90s, mid-league, radio-friendly AOR album of the sort that would have bothered the lower reaches of the chart periodically about 15 or 20 years ago. Yes, the songs - and there actually are only 12 of them as the single, 'Edge Of A Broken Heart', is included in two different versions - are competently written, and the playing is equally competent, especially the guitar playing, but there's nothing that jumps out and grabs you by the collar yelling "listen to me!"


The accompanying press pack draws comparisons to Bon Jovi and Nickelback: that's somewhat over-stretching things, to be honest. The main comparators that come to mind are Bryan Adams (on the likes of 'Weak As I Am'), ZZ Top in their electronica-infused 'Afterburner' mode ('Lay Down The Law'), Nightwish without the gloss ('Stranger In Paradise') or Survivor ('The Reaper'). The ballad, 'Every Time You Cry', is one of the few high points, as are the intro into 'Too Late To Die' and the riff to 'United We Stand' - but the cover of Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill' is absolutely dire, and there really is no need for two versions of the single.


Rob Mancini has spent the past few years, in between writing and recording this disappointment of an album, gigging around the Irish pub circuit: on this evidence, he'll find it difficult to break out of it any way soon... but, I might try to catch him if he's playing my local.