Man Man | Life Fantastic

Anti (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  May 26, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

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Man Man fans probably weren't expecting "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"–levels of optimism from the happy-titled Life Fantastic, but the vibe on the Philly-based band's fourth album is pretty morbid, even by their standards. The title track is a parade of dark imagery: black umbrellas, weeping children, and a world crumbling into chaos, with the band churning out a minor-key, mildly exotic piano ruckus. In the growly, synth-drenched opener, "Knuckle Down," vocalist Ryan "Honus Honus" Kattner barks, in his trademark hooligan style, "Racing through the dark/A headless St. Bernard" — which is as accurate a sonic description for these guys as you can get. No matter what they do, whether it's Frank Zappa–esque '50s dancehall ("Piranhas Club"), zany synth excursions ("Eel Bros"), or distorted, pogo-stick groove (pretty much the entire second half of the album), they do it with a lunatic's charm — five players grinning giddily, armed with a concert hall full of instruments in the face of the coming apocalypse. "The world is a shitshow," sings Kattner, tired and cranky amid a swirl of morphing guitar atmospherics and marimba bashing. Man Man are a shitshow too — the good kind.

MAN MAN + SHILPA RAY AND HER HAPPY HOOKERS | Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | May 28 @ 8 pm | 18+ | $16.50 | 617.562.8800

  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Philadelphia, MAN MAN,  More more >
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