For these not within the know, Man Man is a band that was described by what I prefer to confer with as Anarcho Avant-Garde. So far as I do know, I simply made that up, however their early work is positively wild, with nonsensical titles like “Spider Cider,” “White Rice, Brown Coronary heart,” “Tunneling Via the Man,” “The Ballad of Butter Beans,” and even one known as “Fish Stick Gumbo,” which is a four-second monitor of somebody laughing maniacally earlier than closing a door. The lead singer, Honus Honus, is one thing of an underground icon. He combines usually nice vocals with completely wild music and lyrics, and the band’s quite a few different members chime in with devices which can be hardly ever seen and intensely unorthodox.
Their songs contact on the whole lot from relationship somebody whose dad and mom abuse them to being with somebody who indulges in each fetish their perverse minds can give you. It’s why I feel anarchic is one of the best descriptor of their earlier work. You by no means know what to anticipate subsequent and it doesn’t observe the principles.
Quick ahead to 2013, the place they dropped On Oni Pond, an album that holds rather more mainstream enchantment than their prior works. Gone was the overwhelming percussion and insane singing, and instead was one thing a lot, a lot poppier. From what I do know, it’s their bestselling album. Or possibly that’s simply the case within the small quantity of individuals. Somebody I used to know described the album as follows: “My sister owns a replica of On Oni Pond.” I feel his level was that it’s not a foul album by any stretch of the creativeness, however that it wasn’t what followers essentially needed from the band. It employed many extra digital parts, with a number of songs that includes slightly heavy use of synth and following pretty normal pop patterns. I just like the album quite a bit, however my favourite by them is Six Demon Bag, their second album and one that’s borderline a horror film soundtrack at instances.
Let’s now quick ahead once more to…properly, now. Man Man shocked their small however devoted following by saying and releasing Dream Searching within the Valley of the In-Between, an album that largely ditches the extra synthetic parts of On Oni Pond by using extra percussion and brass, like of their early days, whereas additionally retaining its mainstream enchantment because of a number of songs that, to paraphrase Stephen King, “Have a terrific beat and you may dance to them.” The album veers between the darker emotional stuff from their previous, whereas additionally being nonsensical at instances.
We open with “Dreamers,” a stunning little tune that calls to thoughts smoke-filled bars and hard guys, traditional noir stuff, with its combination of piano and sax, earlier than launching straight into “Cloud Nein,” the primary single from the album that the band dropped. It’s easy, catchy, and makes use of upbeat tunes to convey a message about folks basically denying their very own mortality. I imply, simply watch the music video. It’s an previous man dancing fortunately on empty streets earlier than the world explodes.
What does all of it imply? Is it a criticism of local weather change deniers? Is it extra a commentary on the present state of affairs the world is in? Your guess is pretty much as good as mine, or possibly higher as a result of I’m not significantly nice at understanding music.
“On the Mend” treads over acquainted floor of somebody talking to a different about how the answer to their life’s issues aren’t within the individual they’ve constructed up of their thoughts as some type of savior. It’s extra subdued, however not much less infectious than the earlier tracks. In the meantime, “Lonely Beuys” is the second a part of that story, straight addressing the individual’s denial of the dangerous components of their life. It’s far catchier than it ought to be given the unhappy material, however that’s simply Man Man. And much more oddly, each of those songs characteristic YouTuber Rebecca Black, as properly, and he or she isn’t dangerous in them.
“Future Peg” is the second Massive Bop of the album, with largely nonsensical lyrics about folks having psychological breakdowns. It’s adopted instantly by “Goat,” the tune that feels probably the most like Man Man’s early work. It employs a continuing, hypnotic beat and an odd, dissonant sax to ship a tune that largely compares an unknown girl to numerous items of meals, earlier than transferring on to a health care provider that’s seemingly dishonest on his spouse. To me, it’s one of many standout tracks on the album, as it’s catchy whereas additionally being oddly uncomfortable and off-putting. It’s memorable and unusual, that are two issues I worth quite a bit.
“Internal Iggy” follows, and it feels good for the early summer season, conjuring up photos of the seaside by combining surf rock with Salsa, and it’s maybe one of the best “quick however candy” monitor on the album. “Hunters,” in the meantime, appears like a present tune as solely Honus Honus may produce, leaning closely on piano and xylophone however coping with somebody not with the ability to emotionally fulfill their lover. That is then adopted instantly by “Oyster Level,” which closely echoes their early tune “Younger Einstein on the Seashore,” though far much less chaotic. It’s 30 seconds of unusual noises, basically.
“The Prettiest Music within the World” offers with Devil 69ing with males in a motel room in Kansas, and purchasing til you drop, however ends with a really direct message to the listener, saying that he needed to write down the prettiest tune on the earth however bought distracted. It is usually traditional Man Man, with a incredible instrumental part within the center earlier than being punctuated by one thing each unhappy and humorous.
In the meantime, “Animal Attraction” appears like a callback to “Gold Enamel” from Man in a Blue Turban with a Face in that it’s an intimate tune concerning the failing relationship between two folks, and the singer simply can’t appear to interrupt it off. Of all of the songs on the album, this one feels probably the most private, and I simply hope that sometime Honus Honus can work out his relationship issues. “Sheela” and “Unsweet Meat” observe that up with two quicker paced songs, with the previous feeling as near simple rock because the band has ever been and the latter being a pleasant, unusual pallet cleanser earlier than the ultimate stretch.
The ultimate few songs, weirdly sufficient, virtually really feel like they work greatest when listened to collectively all of sudden. “Swan” is a short, bittersweet piano-based tune that nearly feels prefer it might be the top of the group’s profession. It has the unusual, unorthodox lyrics they’re identified for whereas additionally carrying with it an indescribable feeling of melancholy. He says, “it’s solely somewhat little bit of alchemy/and the blood of a dying swan,” earlier than transferring on to “Powder My Wig,” about being drawn to somebody with the identical quantity of self-destructive tendencies because the singer does. It’s slightly low-key, however a catchy little beat that units up a number of the earlier tracks.
“If Solely” is the penultimate monitor on the album, with a stunning duet between Honus Honus and Dre Babinski. It’s a beautiful, downbeat tune about two individuals who shouldn’t be collectively attempting to reconcile the sins they’ve dedicated towards each other (there’s that subject popping up once more). The ultimate monitor is “Within the Valley of the In-Between,” a brief, melancholy piano piece that echoes the emotions of “Dreamers”; it feels nostalgic and lustful, nevertheless it lacks that sense of hope current within the first monitor. It ends the album not with a bang, however a tragic sob, and lets the listener mirror on the whole lot that’s come earlier than it on the album.
Dream Searching within the Valley of the In-Between does simply that for longtime followers of Man Man. It combines the instrumental and generally chaotic parts of their earlier work with the extra simple, new-listener-friendly components of On Oni Pond. I don’t know if it’s the last-ever Man Man album the world will see, however in some ways, it appears like a reconciliation of all that’s come earlier than, each with the band, and, I’m assuming, with the issues that Honus Honus, AKA Ryan Kattner, has handled all through his life.
To me, it ought to enchantment to followers each previous and new, with its reliance on sensible devices and the catchy beats it makes use of to discover some very darkish material. It’s a beautiful return from the hiatus the musical group has been on, and regardless of the finality in its themes, hopefully an indication of extra to return from one among music’s strangest bands.