Man Man
Life Fantastic


3.5
great

Review

by Adam Thomas STAFF
May 4th, 2011 | 19 replies | 12,020 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shave and a haircut -- two bits

Polish isn't something that normally comes to mind when someone mentions Man Man, but their latest album Life Fantastic is so meticulously clean for an album that bears the Man Man moniker, almost to the point of some confusion as to whether or not frontman Honus Honus has traded in his tennis shorts and “creepy man on the bus” mustache for a pressed suit and a business cut. Well, worries be spared. On first glance it might seem as if producer Mike Mogis, who mostly known for slapping his name on the credits of anything released by Conor Oberst's Saddle Creek label, has managed to drain the weirdness from rickety carnival fun house that is Man Man, but after all these are still Honus Honus' songs and regardless of the studio sheen placed upon them, they still, at their heart, are the bizarre ramblings of a man that has fun house mirrors for eyes. Honus Honus still spits out his verses in a way that falls somewhere in between someone breaking a secret at the bar and Tom Waits if he managed to spit out the hairball that's lodged at the back of his throat, that being said, compared to his voice on previous Man Man albums, he has toned back his schizophrenic ramblings making things a bit more inviting. The way that Man Man have approached songwriting on Life Fantastic has also made it a more inviting listen overall. Where over the last few years they took traditional pop structures and warped them into these strange musical odysseys that were as uncomfortable as they were intriguing, the songs on Life Fantastic are fully content existing within the realms of their 60's pop influence, using only the occasional freak out to shock the listener right when they are starting to get comfortable. Every once and a while this new “happier” Man Man gets a little too carried away, leading to a few campy moments, and while it is true that “campy” can perfectly describe some of the greatest moments in Man Man's catalog, these moments when they appear on Life Fantastic are more likely to bring a shake of the head than a nod of approval. Luckily these moments of doo-wop overindulgence are few and far between and are quickly forgotten in the scheme of things.

Life Fantastic might not be the best album that Man Man have released, or the perfect manifestation of their “sound”, but for what it's worth it's a welcome reminder of all the things that they do right. The experimentation found on Life Fantastic, for the most part, works rather well within the gypsy circus that is Man Man but even at its best it makes one wonder what it could have sounded like without the meds.



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user ratings (47)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2011



17204 Comments


stream if you want to give it a gander http://stereogum.com/697291/stream-man-man-life-fantastic/mp3s/

Xenophanes
Emeritus
May 4th 2011



10592 Comments


Shave and a haircut -- two bits


Your age is showing, Mr. Redsky. Old phrases ftw.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2011



17204 Comments


My story begins in nineteen-dickety-two. We had to say "dickety" because the Kaiser had stolen our word "twenty". I chased that rascal to get it back, but gave up after dickety-six miles.

Piglet
May 4th 2011



4653 Comments


That is one well-dressed mouse.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 4th 2011



23804 Comments


My story begins in nineteen-dickety-two. We had to say "dickety" because the Kaiser had stolen our word "twenty". I chased that rascal to get it back, but gave up after dickety-six miles.


lol'd

eggsvonsatan
May 4th 2011



1087 Comments


I saw this band. I'm surprised they don't get more love around here. I feel like they're more of a live band than a studio band.

londoncalling457
May 4th 2011



2603 Comments


yeah, i saw them when they opened for gogol bordello and they ruled. rabbit habits is a great album (haven't heard their first one) but i enjoyed them a lot more live. need to get this.

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2011



10311 Comments


Mike Mogis*

Digging: Literature - Chorus

TREO5
May 4th 2011



1068 Comments


I enjoy these guys, will check it out.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2011



17204 Comments


yeah, they are easily one of the best live acts I've seen.

Spare
May 4th 2011



5271 Comments


oh shit new man man

AnotherBrick
May 4th 2011



9770 Comments


if i never liked these guys will this change my mind?

37er00
May 4th 2011



1253 Comments


no

sethdavid
May 5th 2011



34 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Saw these guys open for Cursive a couple years ago, absolutely crazy. I dig this album more than anything else they've done.

kitsch
May 5th 2011



5107 Comments


girlfriend loves this band, says their live show is amazing. shes seen them like 5 times apparently. curious to see them on tour this summer.

Steoandnoodles
May 8th 2011



2832 Comments


Going to give this a spin over the weekend. =)

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
May 8th 2011



9033 Comments


Another Soby review? I smell Emeritus for mr. Sky at the end of the year.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2011



17204 Comments


the overwhelming majority of my reviews have always been short.

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
May 8th 2011



9033 Comments


I guess you're right. The only one of yours I had really attributed to you was your hella long Illusion of Safety one, so I thought this was out of the ordinary



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