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Artist: Man Man

Date Released: February 21, 2006

Label: Ace Fu

Produced By:


  1. Feathers
  2. Engwish Bwudd
  3. Banana Ghost
  4. Young Einstein on the Beach
  5. Skin Tension
  6. Black Mission Goggles
  7. Hot Bat
  8. Push the Eagle's Stomach
  9. Spider Cider
  10. Van Helsing Boombox
  11. Tunneling Through the Guy
  12. Fishstick Gumbo
  13. Ice Dogs


What is it that makes carnivals so creepy? Even if you take away the full moon, the homicidal-looking fun house and the sadistic clowns, and just have an ordinary, boardwalk-access carnival sitting quietly on a bright, summer day; there is still something unsettling about it. The forced enthusiasm chips away the brightly-colored paint with each passing year, and after 40 years of punishment, only the tattered shell of the carnival is left, complete with it’s dried up log flume and uninhabited eeriness. Philadelphia’s Man Man has this same aura in their music; a style built from the remnants of dead genres, broken instruments and lost emotions. Frontman Honus Honus sits in the center ring, strapped with his red dress coat, black top hat, twisted mustache and gravely voice directing each act with reverberant yelps and his vivid narrative. The rest of the quintet creates a sort of recycled waltz with an assortment of rusty horns, off-color pianos, bludgeoned kits and anything else they can get their hands on. Obvious influences come from Tom Waits, Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, as heard on their debut album; but this time around, the music is less schizophrenic and urgent, instead being brighter and more buoyant (just listen to the doo-wop closer Ice Dogs). This by no means makes it indie-pop or anything of that nature, but during moments like the call-and-response chorus between Honus and his falsetto followers on Engwish Bwudd, the catchiness is undeniable. The band’s earlier manifestations of abrupt raucous cacophony still play an integral part in the album, but not nearly to the degree as on The Man in a Blue Turban with a Face. ‘Six Demon Bag’ is like a good night of drinking: equal parts joyous, rowdy and sentimental, chock full of jovial, bar-wide toasts, scuffles with surrounding patrons and reminiscing about the one that got away, all capped off by passing out as blood drips from your mysteriously aching mouth on to the pillow. Mpardaiolo

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