Project Manors serves as a record of their last days. Picking up where their debut, The Black Powr EP, left off, the first few songs scrape along like knife fights: heaving, blown-out bass lines and shards of guitars get tossed around between big, loping drums. If ever there was a Mad Man sound, “Obstruction” is its exemplar — a little militaristic, a little rushed, hinging on stuttering guitars that choke frenzied, end-of-the-world melodies down to tight, staccato jabs. Lewis barks over it all in raw, ranting, run-on sentences.
Yet Manors also attests to the forces that slowly pulled the band apart. “Racecar Heart” might as well have been on Lewis’s solo album, a shuffling truck-stop sing-along that Jerry Lee would have dug. (“It just seemed too Mad Man Films to me,” he says.) And “Attic Box” rattles with rusty guitar strings. Ciampini says the changes have more to do with getting through life than anything else. “When we did Black Powr, we were trying to be a punk band. But we were kids when we got together. We all went through things and thought maybe it’s time to slow down a bit.”
Mad Man operated in Three Musketeer mode at all times. Longo remembers this as being what mattered while they were together. “We mentored each other in everything we did. Moving apart and waiting for this record to get mixed changed all that. For George, it just became clear that he needed to be free. He needs to be doing something new all the time, and that means not being committed to a band. He’s a man of change.”
“To me, this feels like the official end to it,” says Lewis. “We personally ended it together like a year ago. The thing that made me interested in doing it at all was helping out Sean.”
And in his Brighton kitchen, Longo echoes those sentiments. “It’s been over for a while. Everyone’s found new things to focus on, and we decided against doing any of this seriously a long time ago. We’re just not DIY enough for it. If someone wanted to come along and book us and figure out record deals, fine. We just want to do what’s fun and feels right.”
MAD MAN FILMS + THE WANDAS + AGE RINGS + THE PAINTED LIGHTS | Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Boston | August 23 at 9 pm | 21+ | $9 | 617.566.9014 or www.greatscottboston.com | MAD MAN FILMS + BEFORE LAZERS + GEORGE LEWIS JR. + DEATH TO THE WEIRD | O’Brien’s Pub, 3 Harvard Ave, Allston | August 24 at 9 pm | 21+ | $10 | 617.782.6245 or www.obrienspubboston.com