Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mannequin Men 'Mannequin Men'

Just got my first beer coloured vinyl in the form of Mannequin Men's new self titled album on Addenda Records, where the boys really hit their stride with the four piece's most cohesive effort to date. Recorded live at Key Club in Michigan 'Mannequin Men' makes a sludgy start with "Don't Grow", akin to Spacemen 3 or Teenage Fanclub setting the tone for the album. Spirited rhythms cemented at the core allows crunchy guitars to tumble across infectious melodies alongside a rubbery bass, an echo in the vocals lends depth and warmth to the songs that as a whole sound unpolished. And sure enough, you can pick out other influences along the way as their past three albums will attest, Mannequin Men wear their hearts on their sleeves when it comes to revealing inspirations in their songwriting. It's this unfeigned approach and a sense of alliance which best describes the band's personality. Shown further with next track "Flying Blind", a heartfelt number that is earnest and engaging in equal measure. The universally loved "Hobby Girl" is also featured for those of us who missed out on the Hozac Singles club 7" (can anyone hook me up?!!). Some personal highlights are "OK" and "Wake Up Dead" towards the end of the album where things cool off and feel curiously poignant especially with Richards singing "I've got a little bit left in the tank cummon" in closer 'Van'.

What sets this album apart from their last few records is how Mannequin Men have refined their sound. The revival of garage rock over the last few years I think has left some bands misunderstood. Don't get me wrong I'm a garage rock lover, but with a genre heavily rooted in aesthetics anything on the surface that fits the mold is too easily pigeonholed sometimes, like 'LoFi' to that end. Mannequin Men may be labeled by some as garage rock but I think looking for something a little deeper makes listening to their songs more rewarding.
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Addenda Records get the album here

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