Man's Gin
Rebellion Hymns


4.3
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
July 2nd, 2013 | 38 replies | 8,920 views


Release Date: 06/25/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There’s no sun rising off the coast of Sicily.

Colorado native Erik Wunder proves perfectly capable of expressing himself in various musical settings. Aside from the noisy black metal of the highly esteemed Cobalt albums, Wunder also revels in dark Americana of the highest caliber. The first record he released under the Man's Gin moniker was one of 2010's most pleasant surprises. Smiling Dogs delivered a dazzling spin on American roots music that seethed with raw emotion and post-apocalyptic vibes. Wunder expands on the stripped-down aesthetic of that album with a significantly more elaborate sound of Rebellion Hymns. This time around the acoustic guitar, piano and upright bass are often complemented by cello, violins, slide guitar and harmonica. In consequence, the new full-length feels much grander in scope, combining the artist's routinely top-notch songwriting with more refined production techniques to startling effect.

All songs are linked by Wunder's distressingly poetic lyrics and strong baritone vocals. His bereft howl lends the music undeniable substance. “Inspiration” packs a punch with its reassuring exhortation to chasing dreams at all costs. The track reaches its pinnacle when Wunder begins screaming at the top of his voice, channeling in the process the fierce intensity of grunge's greatest singers, such as Eddie Vedder and Layne Staley. The record might be overbearingly bleak, yet it never ceases to be dynamic and admirably varied. Every song shows qualities that distinguish it from the pack. “Varicose” tells the heartbreaking story of lost love to the understated accompaniment, while “Off The Coast Of Sicily” works as a requisite binge anthem due to its stomping rhythms, slightly over-the-top vocals and fatalistic lyrics. The cinematic "Old House" wallows in an eerie interplay between moody piano and off-kilter guitar soloing. The most upbeat cut comes with “Never Do The Neon Lights,” a superb country-folk tune that boasts one of the most anthemic choruses of the year. In contrast, “Hibernation Time” makes the best of its oddly uplifting orchestration, closing the album on a blissfully atmospheric note.

Rebellion Hymns isn't exactly a flawless record, though. While there are absolutely no misfires amid the long tracks which hardly ever overstay their welcome, the frequent interludes often disrupt the flow of the disc instead of maintaining it. Putting this petty shortcoming aside, the new Man's Gin endeavor proves both exceptionally far-reaching and achingly personal. It also marks a resounding triumph for Wunder whose tremendous talent for crafting poignant folk rock is in a class by itself. As decidedly gloomy and desperate as his output may get, it always bursts with creative vitality which makes Rebellion Hymns wildly engrossing throughout.




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user ratings (19)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2013



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Inspiration:

https://soundcloud.com/stereogum/mans-gin-inspiration

Deer Head And The Rain:

https://soundcloud.com/profoundlorerecords/mans-gin-deer-head-the-rain

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

Catatonic
July 2nd 2013



123 Comments


Had no idea this existed, and I've spoken to Erik Wunder a couple times. Thanks for reviewing.

Wizard
July 2nd 2013



19296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Review rules dude. I've had this for awhile now and I'm sure what to think of it yet.

Digging: Downer - Downer

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2013



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

@Catatonic:

Ah. That's awesome. The release date of this has been postponed many times, but it's finally up.

@Wizard:

Thanks dude. I think it's a bit better than the debut.

Wizard
July 2nd 2013



19296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I definitely think it's a lot better than his debut, just feeling the album out still since this is a completely new genre for me.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2013



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

His debut has plenty of killer tunes, especially The Death Of Jimmy Sturgis and Doggamn.

SladetoBlack
July 2nd 2013



152 Comments


Best part of the album is the last 3 1/2 or so minutes.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2013



8321 Comments


That artwork, wtf?

But the album sounds really fucking sweet, so I'll definitely check this out. Solid review.

InfamousGrouse
July 2nd 2013



3296 Comments


rec section has me intrigued, will look into

Digging: Gillian Welch - Revival

Jethro42
July 2nd 2013



12386 Comments


Traditional instruments are often complemented by cello, violins, slide guitar and harmonica? I cant wait to listen to this, plus I like his debut very much. Great review, Greg.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2013



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

The artwork actually captures the mood of the album quite nicely, Magnus. Thanks.

Yeah Jethro. You should dig it. It feels more expansive than the first LP.



insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2013



3353 Comments


I dig the record. It's raw and feels like an amalgam of influence. 'Never Do The Neon Lights', 'Deer Head & The Rain' and 'Inspiration' are really nice.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2013



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Cool that you're digging this. I also really like Off the Coast of Sicily, but really there are no weak tracks on this.

Wizard
July 2nd 2013



19296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So after giving this too many spins to count, I fucking love this album. Spot on rating too Greg, I finally agree with you for once hahahaha.

I like this better than Cobalt tbqh as well.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 3rd 2013



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Me too, but it goes without saying 'cause I'm not high on black metal.

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
July 3rd 2013



7062 Comments


Only on track 2 but this is right up my alley and I'm diggin it hard already.

RadicalEd
July 3rd 2013



2587 Comments


Recs got me interested. Review is great as always greg. Gonna check

Inveigh
July 3rd 2013



24863 Comments


i love Cobalt and have been meaning to listen to this project since the debut came out. good review Greg, I'll definitely be checking this out.

Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 3rd 2013



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

The atmosphere might be similar, but the music is completely different. Still, the odds are that you'll dig it.

Wizard
July 3rd 2013



19296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Inveigh, this is far more interesting than Cobalt.



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