Nick Manka – “This Game”

 Nick Manka – “This Game”

Nick Manka – “This Game” – Single Review

Well would ya look at that…another part of the alumni in A Vintage Year is still out there makin’ the magic happen – this time, it’s Nick Manka.  Another former member of the band, Jordan Barney, whom we ran into through the solo project called Becoming Human, ended up producing this shiny new single from Nick called “This Game” – so dispel any rumors that these cats don’t get along just fine now will ya?  Pay no attention to that damn paparazzi!  Clearly they’re still in touch, and happy to lend an assist when called upon – you gotta dig on that.

For what he’s calling his first official single, “This Game” has got a whole lot of definition and punch to the sound.  That’s the thing about veterans of the scene reappearing in new projects or going solo – they don’t end up having the ol’ typical run of the mill debuts, you know?  Nick sounds like he’s been doin’ this music thang for years, which is because he has been, although this would technically be his initial offering to the world – WITH vocals and lyrics.  You can dig a little bit out there on the internet and quickly discover he put out a short EP called Nick’s Beats back in 2020…but you get the point – he was beatin’ it up back then, and now he’s put together the full package where he’s sung, played, and recorded everything you hear.  Jordan’s lent his time & talents to the production, but other than that, everything else is all Manka from start to finish.  No complaints from me…”This Game” actually reminds me a lot of the band Feeder, and that’s always been one of my favorite Alternative/Pop-Rock bands.  Nick’s flexing a similar level of gritty melody and cleverly controlled distortion to create this new song.

Loving the guitar solo as we head into the 2:40-ish part of this tune too!  Yes, there are already a whole bunch of reasons to dig this track before that, but sometimes you just gotta eat an oreo from the middle on out, am I right?  Music can be the same in that regard.  “This Game” has a nice gradual opening and build to it with about twenty seconds of lead-time in its intro before everything instantly snaps into place and Nick is off & running with a verse that definitely works well.  Chorus-wise, he’s got something there too…probably where he reminds me the most of Feeder actually, otherwise I’d be more busy commenting on how the guitars remind me of Smashing Pumpkins.  Feeder’s a way better fit overall and a much more suitable comparison when you’re considering the vocals and melody and all that; what reminds me of Smashing Pumpkins really only pops up for a couple seconds in this tune in between runs through the chorus.  Anyhow.  No reason not to be proud of what he’s accomplished on this track – Nick can clearly execute on a professional level in every role he needs to play whether it’s guitars, bass, drums, or vocals – and it’s even more obvious that he knows how to write a song.  Where he’s probably in for a bit more of a battle is the fact that he’s gone and put out his first single as a mid-tempo tune, which is something that the masses still have no real idea what to do with when it comes their way to this very day even though there are millions of examples of’em out there throughout music’s history.

Other than that aspect, he’s in good shape from what I can tell.  Lyricism is good…the world is crumbling all around Nick as he’s singing this song, but let’s be real here…we should pretty much ALL feel like that right now, and if we somehow do not, we’d be the exception and not the rule, you feel me?  The bulk of emotions you’ll find in this track are heavy ones, but relatable too…and ultimately that’s going to play to Manka’s advantage when it reaches the ears of the people out there listening.  Misery loves company, as they say…and in general, misery doesn’t often sound as compelling as you’ll find “This Game” does.  It’s a really well-controlled cut overall…despite the fact that it seems like Nick is coming apart at the seams if you’re listening close the lyrics, he’s maintained a genuinely professional grip on the task at hand and sounds strong in all aspects of the performance he puts in.  I dig the rumble on the way into this track once it starts to crank up the intensity, I dig the drum fills you’ll find, and again, I love that guitar solo & the way the backing vocals creep into the very end of it.  Nick’s lead vocals are good – there’s no doubt they sound a bit on the strained side when you’re listening to him hit those main hooks, but that’s plenty appropriate given that the main star of the show seems to be hanging on by a thread.  For the most part, he’s got a very palatable melodic pattern from both the music & the microphone that I’m sure will have no problem at all convincing the people out there to keep on listening.  As for the mid-tempo thing…it is what it is…any artist takes a chance when launching a single that could be described as such…I don’t think it’s gonna hold Manka back.  Overall, assuming he survives this crisis of his mental state, I’m hearing every reason to continue on the path he’s put himself on now.

Find out more about Nick Manka at his official Instagram page:

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