The Music Warrior

Forcing Music down the throats of the unreceptive since 2006

Monday, February 20, 2006

Man Man- Six Demon Bag

http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000CSULO0.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

Man Man is strange. The usual comparisons you'll hear about them is Zappa. Or Waits. Or Beefheart. Usually, though, it's all three. Their singer goes by the name "Honus Honus". One of the members of the band randomly sodomized a girl who currently is enrolled at Weslyan University (though, with the shifting line up of the band, it possibly could have been a former member).

Their first album, "The Man In A Blue Turban With A Face", was pop on acid after spending a night power-chugging Red Bull. Xylaphones went rapant, sublimely melding kiddie-sounding choruses with the harsh, glutteral vocals. You couldn't hear the lyrics all that often, but when you could, you loved it. (Come on, who wouldn't love "You stung me bad/ What can I do?/ Gonna leave the stinger in/ So I won't forget you). But what made the album fun was its frantic "what the hell is going on here?" nature.

Six Demon Bag shows the softer side of a band that is very likely disturbed (of course, disturbed in the best way). Opener "Feathers" is soft, waltz piano chords to vocals that sound like they've been sung by a group of drunkards swaying softly. Of course, the mood is shot to hell by "Engwish Bwudd", where the high pitched kidie-choruses return to bring an up beat dose of confusion ("No daddy daddy no daddy daddy no"/"Get the fuck out of my house! MY HOUSE! MY HOUSE!")

But damned if Man Man learned how to set up a mood. Teetering amid the absurd and the hearbreaking, each song brings a new surprise. As the album begins to draw to a close with the help of "Van Helsing Boombox", a bright spot in an album full of great songs with the occasional 50 second track that sounds like its being screamed by Strong Bad, you wonder if you're listening to the same band that screams songs like "Against The Peruvian Monster!"

Van Helsing Boombox is earnest, it whistles, it groans, it wants to be heard. "Only time will tell if I'll allow the scenary around me to eat me alive", Honus croons, adding, "I wanna sleep for weeks like a dog at your feet, even though I known it won't work out in the long run" with such sincerity that you're initially caught offguard.

The chorus echoes throughout, keeping only a lively yet soft instrumentation, but keeping vocals simple, saying "When anything that's anything becomes nothing, that's everything/ And nothing is the only thing you'll ever seem to have."

Man Man may not wear shirts, and they may be obsessed with their moustaches, but in "Six Demon Bag", they prove that there is some heart behind the frantic insanity.

Man Man- Van Helsing Boombox
Man Man- Feathers
Man Man- Engwish Bwudd

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