Review Summary: A blend of old school folky country, bluegrass, and ragtime with just a pinch of modern humor and wit.
From the above summary and the band name alone, it should already be abundantly clear who, and what, The Two Man Gentlemen Band are. I think it's pretty safe to assume that most who read this will have some sort of biased against music that falls under the umbrella of "country", which is perfectly understandable, since the bulk of what most people are exposed to now is nothing but pop music hiding behind a lap steel guitar. However, the music that The Two Man Gentlemen Band produce is a far cry from today's pop-country. The music produced by Andy Bean and Fuller Condon is, as stated before, a blend of country tinged folk, bluegrass, and a little bit of ragtime, but it's all blended in with a little bit of modernized humor that makes things quite a bit more enjoyable than it sounds on paper.
Andy serves as the charismatic frontman, providing both lead vocals and banjo, whilst Fuller provides various vocal harmonies and serves as the bass player (with an upright bass no less). Andy's voice is a bit hard to put into words, but if you've been exposed to music from the 30's and 40's, his voice sounds fairly similar to any other comparable artist from the period, though it is a bit more polished and melodious. Both members are surprisingly talented at their respective instruments, with Andy providing quite a few tasty banjo riffs (not exactly sure if that's the right term but I'm going with it), and Fuller's basslines continuously walk all over the place, and while neither could really be considered a virtuoso, they do manage to make to keep things musically interesting for a large portion of the album. One of the more unusual aspects of the music comes in the form of, and I'm being completely serious, harmonized kazoo solos, and it's a lot less annoying than it sounds. The solos are found in pretty much every song, so whether or not you enjoy them will probably end up making or breaking the album, but if you do end up finding them enjoyable, it really adds quite of bit to the experience. As far as production goes, the album is mixed fairly well, but manages to retain the raw and grainy feeling of music recorded around the 30's, while still keeping things more or less clear. Even though the music would hold up pretty well on its own, the lyrics add a whole other level of, dare I say, fun. The subject matter largely revolves around things that were going on during the time period the music they're playing is associated with. Basically, instead of ranting about former President Bush, they devote an entire song to poking fun at our fattest former leader, William Howard Taft, and hilarity ensues. Other songs include fairly clever metaphors pairing things such as love and prohibition, and others throw in a bit of risque humor, like the overly suggestive "When Your Lips are Playing My Kazoo".
Whether or not your past experiences with any form of country music has left you with a bad taste in your mouth (metaphorically of course), I would strongly encourage you to put that aside and attempt to give this album a good solid listen. Even if you consider yourself too kvlt to listen to anything including a banjo, I can almost assure you that you'll find something to enjoy on this album. The album is almost unrelentingly upbeat and optimistic, even a bit raucous at times, and if you haven't picked up on it by now, there is an undeniable fun factor to be found here. The novelty of it might start to wear a bit thin after numerous listens, but realistically, one can only take so much twangy banjo music before getting a bit annoyed, so even if you highly enjoy this album at first, just try and pace yourself so it doesn't wear off too quickly.