Written by T.J. McGlinchey
“I don’t wanna know if you’re living in denial…”
Man Man’s 6th full-length album, and their first since 2013, is called Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between, and it is absolutely chocked full of some of this group’s best work to date. The arrangements really make this album shine by deftly employing woodwinds, strings, and marimbas to augment the usual guitars, bass, piano, and drums. This is an organic-sounding album with great production value. This is rock and roll. There are moments of pure psychedelia, backbeats galore, excellent lyrics, and some really impressive, progressive-sounding guitar work.
The two videos released so far employ a Fatboy Slim approach to musical short films by centering on dancers. The video for “Cloud Nein” features an older gentleman gently dancing down some city streets. In “Future Peg,” they feature a cast of characters and a smattering of visuals that are surely meant to discombobulate.
Where the first video was a cute, old man dancing around; the second video was like the cast of a community dance troupe all took drugs by accident and just let it roll. Ice cream sandwiches are a central theme for some reason. There’s a guy licking the ice cream off of ballet slippers. Some dude spits out a ton of teeth. There’s a pile of hot dogs on a table. The main dancer electrocutes herself multiple times. It’s great.
If there are some glaring influences shining through here, they’re all well utilized. They teeter and totter from Beatles-ish/Modest Mousey pop to full-on Mr. Bungle/Fishbone/Clutch psychedelic jams. On “Inner Iggy” they cruise into Afrobeat territory more familiar to William Onyeabor or Talking Heads. There are also more poignant moments like “If Only” which features a sad piano and vocals bordering on Harry Nilsson/Chris Cornell territory. This feels like a complete work. This feels honest. Seventeen tracks later and I’m thinking this is a great album. I expect them to get a lot of work from it. This is gonna be a huge album.
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