Review Summary: How odd.woe is me
i'm a zombie
forever falling like peanut brittle
all over your tits
Whenever I hear a Man Man song it reminds me of a certain clip from the faux-youtube sensation Tourettes Guy. In the video he is asked his opinion on George W. Bush and he cantankerously responds with, "Do you mean Colonel Cluster***?!".Besides the divisive cowboy president, Colonel Cluster*** also sums up Man Man main man Ryan Kattner aka Honus Honus quite nicely. For the last five years his drug induced hodgepodge of the Beatles, carnival romps, gypsy-jazz, and vaudeville have slowly been garnering the attention of the indie underground due to the band's amazing live show. In 2007 after spending the spring opening for Modest Mouse, Man Man were signed to Anti- Records and set work on recording what would be their 2008 release Rabbit Habits
With Rabbit Habits
Honus Honus and his jolly band of misfit musicians (going by the names Sergei Sogay, Pow Pow, Critter Cat, and Chang Wang) continue on their journey of taking their eccentric indie-pop into the realms of the absurd. Lead primarily by a combination of Honus Honus' cabaret style piano playing and the schizophrenic drumming of Pow Pow, the music on Rabbit Habits
is all over the map. The swinging intro to "Easy Eats or Dirty Doctor Galapagos" sounds hilariously similar to the music in the famous cantina scene in Star Wars while the off kilter xylophone runs in "The Ballad of Butter Beans" bring back nothing but fond memories for the merry melodies of classic Warner Brothers' cartoons. The album's two closing tracks "Poor Jackie" and "Whalebones", though the most normal in their structure, are highly reminiscent of late era Tom Waits with their sauntering waltz and bayou influence. But out off all the musical oddities to be found on Rabbit Habits
, by far the most enjoyable is the campy use of kazoos in "Hurly/Burly". The kazoos are used as a makeshift brass section as a funky bass riff carries the the song into a vaudevillian smorgasbord of a chorus fit with jangly piano, xylophone, shrieking backing vocals and odd electronics.
Honus Honus's raspy yet strained vocals fit perfectly with the aural calamity he and his band make. On every track he belts out his tales of love, woe, and the inane with his three packs a day gruff and a sense of humor that only adds to the campy feeling of the album. His lyrics range from the somber seriousness of "Whalebones" as he laments "But she holds him like an infant / though it breaks her in half to know he'll wake like a man," to the humorous relationship angst of "Big Trouble" when Honus Honus and his chorus of falsettoed misfits belt out lines like "you walk like a man but you talk like a fool / you strut like a stallion but you *** like a mule."
All in all, Rabbit Habits
sees Man Man finally creating an album that can be enjoyed not only in the live setting but on the stereo as well. It is also the easiest album in their catalog to get into. Sure, it doesn't have the instant standouts of past albums like "Van Helsing Boombox" or "10 Lb. Mustache" but Rabbit Habits
more than makes up for it by being Man Man's most consistent and consistently deranged album to date.