Nan Vernon was discovered by the Eurythmic's Dave Stewart and sang backup as one of his Spiritual Cowboys on Stewart's 1990 release. Although that record did little commercially, Vernon did parlay her high-profile acquaintance with Stewart into a record deal and released Manta Ray in 1994, through Stewart's Anxious Records. Vernon is solidly in the female, alternative rock camp, however, her keen sense of melody, articulate writing, and pristine vocals make it more memorable than many other such releases. "Motorcycle" kicks things off with a percolating road tale driven by grinding guitar, but the most of the material is of a more introspective nature such as the dreamy "Tattoo Tears," "No More Lullabies," and the gorgeous afterlife ballad "The Big Picture," all delivered in a breathy fashion. None of it added up to much attention from music fans, which is unfortunate because Manta Ray is a better than average debut.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Demalon