Man Man – Life Fantastic

January 01, 1970



Philadelphia’s Man Man have spent the better part of the
decade and its three principle lo-lo-fi albums jumping from Zappa to Beefheart
to Sun Ra and back again without aping its inspirations. In fact only the
grumble of its main composer and singer Honus Honus and the overall rhythmic
angling of The Man in a Blue Turban with
a Face
and Six Demon Bag would
truly remind you of American rock’s avant-garde past.


For its fourth album, the ramshackle ensemble pull up its
britches, tighten up its arrangements and make linear the rhythmic pulses to
find pop amidst the rubble and love amongst the ruins with producer Mike Mogis
(Bright Eyes guy) at the helm. There are crisp moments like the weird but zippy
“Shameless” and the bluegrass humpty hump of the title tune. But mainly it’s
just a cleaner nicer more focused version of rabbitty usual that marks this
album. Like when Honus gruff and ready vocals dance through the xylophones of
“Knuckle Down” or when “Steak Knives” adorned by a chamber-like string
arrangement, waltzes through a lingering melody like a merry widow. Splendid,


Brea,” “Haute
Tropique,” “Piranhas Club” A.D. AMOROSI

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