14 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Philly’s Man Man has slowly evolved into a tighter, more focused version of itself, and on the band's fourth album, Life Fantastic, it has just about nailed a perfect balance between perpetrating beloved artistic chaos and making well-honed, impactful art. There’s less of a gypsy-hoedown aesthetic here, but the group has kept its junkyard-punk vaudeville vibe with stomping, swinging rhythms and a cleaner production that lets its arsenal of instruments (strings, pianos, horns, organ, guitars, marimbas, and amazing percussion) speak as loudly as necessary. Lyrically, it’s all bad news: Honus Honus growls about relationships gone bad and depression on tracks like the lovely, waltzing “Steak Knives,” the roaring “Dark Arts," and the unnervingly jaunty “Knuckles Down.” “Haute Tropique” is about a serial killer who alternately cannibalizes and, er, repurposes his victims. Honus’ wordplay almost renders the tune comical: “Two monks from a deli/he sriracha'd in jelly/and made a corset out of ‘em for his belly!” Man Man continues to surprise and delight, and now the band does it with less distraction—a very good thing.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Philly’s Man Man has slowly evolved into a tighter, more focused version of itself, and on the band's fourth album, Life Fantastic, it has just about nailed a perfect balance between perpetrating beloved artistic chaos and making well-honed, impactful art. There’s less of a gypsy-hoedown aesthetic here, but the group has kept its junkyard-punk vaudeville vibe with stomping, swinging rhythms and a cleaner production that lets its arsenal of instruments (strings, pianos, horns, organ, guitars, marimbas, and amazing percussion) speak as loudly as necessary. Lyrically, it’s all bad news: Honus Honus growls about relationships gone bad and depression on tracks like the lovely, waltzing “Steak Knives,” the roaring “Dark Arts," and the unnervingly jaunty “Knuckles Down.” “Haute Tropique” is about a serial killer who alternately cannibalizes and, er, repurposes his victims. Honus’ wordplay almost renders the tune comical: “Two monks from a deli/he sriracha'd in jelly/and made a corset out of ‘em for his belly!” Man Man continues to surprise and delight, and now the band does it with less distraction—a very good thing.

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About Man Man

Based in Philadelphia but also spending time in New York, Man Man formed with members Honus Honus (vocals/synthesizer), Tiberius Lyn (drums), Clint Killingsworth (bass), and Steven Dufala (guitar/trumpet). Man Man made their album debut in 2004 with The Man in a Blue Turban with a Face, and Six Demon Bag followed in 2006 with Lyn replaced by new drummer and songwriter Pow Wow (Chris Powell). As they established themselves over the next few years, the eclectic quartet welcomed Brown Sugar (Adam Schatz) and Shono Murphy (Bryan Murphy) to their line-up after the exit of Killingsworth and Dufal, and played shows with artists such as Cat Power, Adam Green, Mirah, U.S. Maple, Aereogramme, Need New Body, and Bardo Pond. Over the course of 2008’s Rabbit Habits, 2011’s Life Fantastic, and 2013's Oni Oni Pond, the band segued into a more standard pop approach without compromising its bizarre musical style. ~ MacKenzie Wilson

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