Life FantasticAlbum |
Dark, schizophrenic sideshow jams.
Is Man Man ever going to release a "normal" record? If employing a conventional definition of the word, then no, of course not. If slightly-cleaned up production counts for "normal," then the oddball Captain Beefheart-meets-Gogol Bordello collective have delivered their most digestible record to date. The Philadelphia-based band has been a tough nut to crack since they released the playfully bizarre debut The Man in a Blue Turban with a Face in 2004. Since then, their artful 2006 breakthrough Six Demon Bag and 2008 follow-up Rabbit Habits brought additional exposure to these class clowns. Life Fantastic largely follows the momentum built from previous efforts, while boasting some of the most freakishly strange lyrics from leader Ryan Kattner (aka Honus Honus) to date. "Piranhas Club," the album's most likable bit, could stand as a hook-laden pop song were in not draped in whimsical horns and keys. Meanwhile, the delicate songwriting of "Steak Knives" adds a new dimension to the group's repertoire. All the while, the rants of Honus Honus lend the perfect grace note to all the debauchery. While past efforts were almost whimsical at points, Life Fantastic finds Man Man as twisted and schizophrenic as ever. It's a career trajectory that seems strangely fitting for these beard-rockers, and they're certainly doing it in style.