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  • Andy Mockbee

Review: "Good Guys Gone" - Erica Manzoli

"These aren't tears, it's just my allergens," Erica Manzoli insists on the second verse of her latest single, "Good Guys Gone." The humor functions less as a deflection from her emotions and more as a winking hint that they aren't that serious. Through breezy pop and bittersweet melody, the singer-songwriter vents out the frustrations of trying to find love in all the wrong places. Manzoli's honeyed falsetto makes for a dreamy topping on the disco-tinged chorus, like a longing sigh in the heart of Valentine's Day. "Good Guys Gone" remains light and airy, swaying to the ebb and flow of its synths, guitars, and drum machine. On the bridge, however, Manzoli twists at the syrupy melody with dissonantly layered vocals. She doesn't totally stomp out the heart-shaped balloons and boxes of chocolates, but she evocatively sets them under a gloomy cloud of rain.

Manzoli writes with both a sincere commitment and a wry humor on "Good Guys Gone." The closest she gets to overt jokiness arrives on the bridge, when she humorously asks if she has "to steal a man for goodness sake," lest she die alone. Even then, though, there's no sense of self-mockery in her delivery. It's the nuanced presentation of negative feelings that neither dramatizes nor invalidates their impact. So, yes, we smile and chuckle alongside her, relating to the woes of searching for love, but the sting is all too real when she sings of feeling "always so alone in love." That's the fuel that will keep "Good Guys Gone" fresh and fun upon further replays; it retains the strength of simplicity while baking a great depth into its confection.

The radical honesty Erica Manzoli writes with has established her as a rising singer-songwriter to watch for. From the release of her debut EP, I'm Okay, I Promise, the British artist proved a willingness to showcase vulnerability through its four, somber songs. The closing track, "Rock Bottom," continued the introspective melancholia of prior tracks, but suggested at her potential for more kinetic pop with its morphing, electronic drumbeat. Manzoli returned in May of this year with "Body Double," another stunning single which would be selected as the BBC Introducing Song of the Week by Radio 1. Now, with the release of "Good Guys Gone," the singer-songwriter has shown another, dynamic side to her excellent pop artistry. Accompanied with an excellent and conceptual music video, there's no doubt that Manzoli has a clear and exciting vision for what is sure to be a promising career.

Written By Andy Mockbee

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