Man Man successfully did it once again. Blurring the lines between Transylvanian spaz-rock and soulful, bluesy compositions, the Philadelphia boys churned out another pleasing album on Anti- Records. Utilizing hand-claps, children’s toys, kazoos and other quirky instruments of the sort to compliment their excellent musicianship, this album boasts more than a few maniacal, shimmy-inducing tracks.
At first listen, if nothing else, you hear that Man Man has certainly stayed true to their hectic sound. Yes it’s true, Man Man are commonly referred to as Tom Waits rip-offs, but lead-singer Honus Honus can pull off a glittery gold headband and war paint much better than Waits ever could, I imagine.
Rabbit Habits is a great listen, however it isn’t as aggressive or experimental as Six Demon Bag. Tracks like “The Ballad Of Butter Beans” make me feel like I’m in a silent-film car chase scene. Or a circus. Both are fitting, actually, for pretty much all of these songs. “Top Drawer” and “Easy Eats Or Dirty Doctor Galapagos” definitely have a vintage, Vaudeville-esque vibe. On “Big Trouble”, Honus Honus’ vocals sound so similar to that of Waits’, it sounds like it could be straight off of Real Gone, if he maybe cut down his cigarette intake to under 5 packs a day.
In short, I would have liked to have seen Man Man go over the top cray-cray (crazy, for all you lames) with this album. Do I feel like they did? No. It’s a safely-done presentation of what the guys to best, and it doesn’t push them into a realm of super-godliness (although Honus Honus was our God Warrior Of The Week a few weeks ago) like I was expecting.
Oh well, I’ll just have to sit back and wait for the next tour to get the full Man Man experience. These tunes are much better heard live.