Man Man | Life Fantastic

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

man man main

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

Related: Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears | Scandalous, Yelle | Safari Disco Club, The Sounds | Something To Die For, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Philadelphia, MAN MAN,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   DIAMOND RINGS | FREE DIMENSIONAL  |  October 18, 2012
    "Love is a drug, and it's the only one I'm dealing," raps gender-bending synth-pop siren John O'Regan deep into his sophomore album.
  •   BENJAMIN GIBBARD | FORMER LIVES  |  October 09, 2012
    "It's been a basement of a year," Ben Gibbard sings over a perky two-chord strum on the saccharine "Oh, Woe." It's hard not to take him literally.
  •   FLYING LOTUS | UNTIL THE QUIET COMES  |  October 03, 2012
    On Until the Quiet Comes , his reliably solid fourth studio album, Flying Lotus's Steven Ellison continues to bang out mind-bending electro-donut jams for folks who don't quite "get" electronic music.
  •   MUMFORD & SONS | BABEL  |  September 25, 2012
    Three years ago, London folk-rock quartet Mumford & Sons blew up in a major way with "The Cave," an angst-fueled, Grammy-nominated strummer built on quiet-loud dynamics, Country Marshall's propulsive banjo, and Marcus Mumford's gruff bellow, which churned like a locomotive in free-fall.
  •   GRIZZLY BEAR | SHIELDS  |  September 19, 2012
    The initial moments of "Sleeping Ute" are so quintessentially Grizzly Bear, they almost have no impact — Daniel Rossen nurses jagged, staggering chords on an electric guitar likely purchased from a 12th-century pawn shop.

 See all articles by: RYAN REED