Only once Roxy Music went on hiatus in 1976 did guitar virtuoso Phil Manzanera finally find the time to recruit a cavalcade of musicians and record Listen/Now, his second solo album. Manzanera's guitar playing here is more eloquent than most vocalists' lyrics, and on "Island" he turns the instrument inside-out, letting emotion burst through in an unbelievably pure, thick tone. Too-talented guitarists often overplay, but Manzanera's sense of gentle restraint makes every note breathe with excitement.

Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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