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Man Man – Rabbit Habits

on March 12, 2008, 10:37pm

BEEN LOCKED UP WAY TOO LONG!

We are only 3 months into 2008, and we’ve already seen a plethora of great music (Los Campesinos’s Hold on Now, Youngster…, Radiohead’s In Rainbows [gets it’s in-store release], Mountain Goat’s Heretic Pride, and of course, the holy Vampire Weekend self-titled album), and Man Man manages to continue the trend (how’s that for alliteration!) with their new, highly anticipated album Rabbit Habits, a follow up to their sophomore release Six Demon Bag.

In typical Man Man fashion, all the songs have weird, psychopathic gypsy-like chants, notably the opening track “Mister Jung Stuffed,” a 2 minute 30 second long ride through what I’ve always pictured as a crazy ride through hell (think “Robot Hell” from Futurama). Mass chaos occurs throughout the whole track. Honus-Honus’s (Ryan Kattner’s, Man Man alter ego) vocals, as usual, are gritty, raw, and powerful. His voice cracks a multitude of times through this song, and of course throughout the whole album.

Things get interesting around ¼ of the way through the album, when “The Ballad of Butter Beans,” kicks in. The instrumentation is perfect. The tracks opens with the sound of wind chimes, but slowly but surely a driving drum-beat kicks in, working the snare drums, and suddenly! We encounter a gong smash, and xylophones come flying through, setting a chase-like tempo to the song. I’m freaking out. Honus Honus yelps “Butterbeans, I’m gonna get you!” and then the xylophones kick back in. Briefly, all the instruments step back, and we are left with the sound of the drums alone, holding the beat, and we are left to our imagination, what frantic sound what we want to put in. Man Man songs are, in my eyes, perfect for “imagining” things while listening to them and this song promotes this perfectly. The listener is given a blank canvas, and is told to imagine something, anything. A ridiculous guitar solo, the same xylophone riff as we heard before, or even a synthesizer solo, if you so wish.

I’m outside your window, throwing bricks at the moon!

At this point, everything is standard Man Man. Songs are wild, crazy, and just fun. Instruments are being played frantically, and everything feels like a state of panic. A 10 second interlude called “Mysteries of the Universe Unraveled” comes on, and we are tossed into a whole new world. “Doo Right” and “Rabbits Habits,” have odd, almost romantic lyrics (specifically “I wanna hold you, till the mountains turn into sand”, in Doo Right). Both songs are piano-driven, obscure love songs. While some things remain unchanged (high pitched chants), in these songs, it shows that Man Man can successfully write other styles of music, besides their “typical” affair.

To put it simply, Man Man’s Rabbit Habits, is a solid album. A very, very solid album. Lovers of the band, have nothing to fear, as the typical Man Man sound exists in nearly every track (high pitched voices, cracking vocals, frantic drums, intense instrumentation, etc.), but they will be pleasantly surprised to hear the new music-styles that can be heard in the second half of the album. New comers will be pleasantly surprised to hear unique, demonic, and just fun new music, that they will never forget. So kick back, close your eyes, and let each song paint itself, in your mind.

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