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Man Man - The Man in a Blue Turban With a Face CD (album) cover

THE MAN IN A BLUE TURBAN WITH A FACE

Man Man

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.05 | 2 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars MAN MAN is a truly unique sounding experimental band that formed in 2003 in Philadelphia, PA. This is one of those bands that revels in defying classifications, expectations and anything even remotely cliché. Eccentricity is their motto and it all starts with the names of the band members themselves which includes the pseudonyms Honus Honus, Pow Pow, Turkey Moth etc. They wasted no time catching attention with their live shows where they don tennis gear and face paint and have a knack for a high energy level at shows where the songs run together with no breaks for the effect of building the concert experience to a high frequency crescendo. The music revolves around the piano abuse of the lead singer and chief major creative force Honus Honus (Ryan Kattner). Trying to come up with a description of their music has made me have to think a bit but i think i have come with this: MAN MAN sounds like a Balkan gypsy swing jazz caravan that picked up Tom Waits hitchhiking and joined an unemployed circus music band. The music is frenetic and energetic for the most part and drenched in a gazillion different instruments adding all kinds of flavors that you never knew you liked!

While Honus Honus' vocals do remind me of a more energetic Tom Waits and the music even has a vibe similar to his "Rain Dogs" era, the mix of Eastern European gypsy music and downright zaniness does lend the comparisons to Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart to be valid, although the music itself sounds nothing like those respective artists, the experimental factor and the humor do put them in the same neighborhood. This band was a grower. I started out with the later albums with "Life Fantastic" being my first which i thought was hit and miss but on the first couple of albums i find i really dig the MAN MAN sound where they were less restrained and just unfurled their freaky flag to the world not giving a golly gee about much else than fulfilling their musical vision.

On their debut album THE MAN IN A BLUE TURBAN WITH A FACE you can expect a nice mix of gypsy swing jazz, Tom Waits inspired vocals and feel with marimbas, horn section, guitars, flute and a bunch of different guests including two female vocalists, violins, clarinets and various other unidentified noises. You can also expect a passionate vocal delivery often entering the insanity zone but mostly this is a nice melodic upbeat avant-garde swing fest that is instantly addictive but has a few elements that may give the first time listener pause. For me it took me a while to warm up to Honus Honus' vocals, but the music is so addictive that ultimately i succumbed! Almost all the tracks on this album are fairly well constructed with a few coming off as a bit mediocre ("Gold Teeth") and the last couple "Man Who Make You Sick" and "Werewolf (On The Hood Of Yer Heartbreak)" really raising the bar. I would say the album ends stronger than it begins but after a few listens it pretty much all gets under your skin. Excellent! Check em out

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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