"If you substitute these versions of the songs on "Electric" for those that were actually released, you end up with an album that much more effectively bridges the gap between "Love" and "Sonic Temple". Where "Electric" often sounded like 2nd-rate AC/DC, this EP gives a glimpse into an alternate reality where the Cult followed "Love" with an album of incredible power, speed, and drama. The versions on this CD are not dry and raw like their "Electric" counterparts, but rather lush, fiery, and done on a grand scale--imagine a whole CD of "She Sells Sanctuary" turned up to 11, and you've got "The Manor Sessions". In my opinion, this is the Cult's finest hour, bridging the edgy drama of "Love" with the punch and grandeur of "Sonic Temple"--and surpassing them both."
Good stuff, but...
Craig Vennes | Atlanta, GA | 03/15/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First off, The Manor Sessions comes highly recommended to any Cult fan, but I'm amazed at how many people actually think this is a superior version of Electric. Being a fan of the Cult since "Love" was released, I do admit that I'm most fond of the work the band did with Steve Brown at the helm. The Manor Sessions is a good template of what was to come, but the proper album is clearly better. Even Billy Duffy has been quoted (from the liner notes of Rare Cult box set) as saying that the band went into the studio too early following a lengthy tour & that Steve Brown had not grown with the band. What really stands out to me is that he thought the sound was "too washy, too echoing". That's exactly what I thought about the EP when I purchased it back in the late 80's. Once again, don't get me wrong, the Manor Sessions is good in its own right, but like it or not, it's not the direction the band wanted to go in. "Electric" is far more cohesive & stands as one of their best albums to date & this can be attributed to better production from a band with far more focus than heard here."
The Lost Version of Electric
J.T. Fritchie | Los Angeles, CA, | 08/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I can't believe that this is available on cd. This was really popular with myself and friends, as this was Electric done in the psychadelic style of the previous album. This is a must-have for Cult fans. While I don't share the harsh reviews of Electric (it's good on its own terms) this is a really fascinating "what if" version of the well known material from Electric. Get it and enjoy."
This is what Electric was supposed to sound like!
J.T. Fritchie | 10/28/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This cd features 5 outtakes from the manor recordings. The recording company found the recordings too 'metal'. The re-recordings is what you can hear on Electric. This cd features a.o. Electric Ocean, Outlaw, Love Removal machine. Too bad that Lil' Devil is not on it."
The Cult's best
Movie fan from another galaxy | 08/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with reviewer Kevin Gamble.
The Manor sessions was the best the Cult ever sounded. This was undoubtedly the high point of their career. In what eventually would become the album "Electric" produced by hotshot producer Rick Rubin, this collection of songs really missed the mark under Rubin's mannered production. Rubin was the producer the Cult viewed as the best way to crack the American market, recently helping the Beastie Boys explode into the rap market. And while commercially successful, Rubin's "Electic" failed in many ways artistically. Especially after hearing how "Electric" could have sounded under the production of Steve Brown.
Brown truly understood the Cult's uniqueness, and Rubin attempted to make them into Led Zeppelin. Steve Brown also produced the Cult's previous ground breaking and genre defying album "Love", and with the manor sessions, had some truly great songs to work with. But the Cult viewed the sessions as a disappointment and tossed everything out in favor of the dry and heavier sound that Rubin pursued.
The Manor sessions versions fit the songs much better and allowed the Cult to sound more like the Cult instead of a cheap imitation of Led Zep.
I am grateful these sessions were released, as I had read at the time, that the Cult were in the studio recording, after "Love" brought them into the limelight. Then after the announcement of Rick Rubin's involvement was announced I was leery of the impending results and my fears were actually surpassed in the subsequent results. "Electric" will always be the most disappointing album of the Cult's catalog of work. It's unfortunate the Cult made the wrong choice at the time.
But now, in retrospect, you can enjoy the Manor sessions produced by Steve Brown and imagine what could have been."