Despite being a solo album, Manopause sounds very much like the product of a full band. For Josh Grier's debut as Ginkgo, he wrote most of the material while touring with his former indie group, Tapes 'n Tapes, and then brought in Jeremy Hanson and Brett Bullion to add programmed Casio beats and live drums. With the exception of added percussion in "Vitamin Friends," the last, noisiest song of the album, which features Bullion contributing guitar and bass, all of the songs are primarily the work of Grier. Considering that all of Manopause sounds very much like Tapes 'n Tapes, and also like Modest Mouse, with loud, disjointed indie pop song structures and an Isaac Brock vocal styling by Grier, it's impressive that he was able to re-create the full-band sound on his own, and keep things sloppy enough to sound as if it could have been compiled from a live session. This is a far cry from Tapes 'n Tapes' overcooked work with David Fridmann for Walk It Off, more cohesive and carefully crafted than their breakout, The Loon, and it actually falls closer to the last outing, Outside, but without the sprightly Vampire Weekend rhythms. While these aren't particularly innovative songs, they are catchy and very listenable, much in the playful, introspective spirit of 2000s indie rock artists, particularly the Elephant 6 collective. A keen eye for detailed, high contrast textures -- made by a full range of keyboards, electric guitars, and angular bass parts -- gives the album a bigger scope than might be expected from a solo outing, and an overall warm, spunky energy makes it sunny and pleasant.
by Jason Lymangrover