Review Summary: ‘70s blues rock/hard rock with Brant Bjork as front man…
Anyone who listened to at least a few Brant Bjork songs knows by now what to expect from him. The groove oozing veteran’s sonic prowess made him the most consistent artist within the stoner/desert rock scene. Many have tried (and continue to do so) to copy his style, cool personality and less-is-more approach, however, no one managed to get there let alone beat him at his own game. Each new record brought a fresh batch of strong tracks, whether heavier, laid back or acoustic. Unsurprisingly, Mankind Woman
is another win, following the ’70s-inspired production used on Tao of the Devil
, only applied on shorter, more dynamic songs.
All the tunes could’ve easily been found on classic, early ‘70s blues rock/rock ‘n’ roll albums, while Brant’s warm, passionate voice is a perfect match. Powerful moments like first single, ‘Chocolatize’, the smooth, swaying title track or the prophetic, ‘Nation of Indica’ will most likely stand out on a first listen, whereas the playful twang featured on ‘Charlie Gin’, ‘Swagger & Sway’ or ‘1968’ will immediately be appreciated by those who already dig his previous efforts. In Bjork’s universe it’s always sunny, there’s no hate and it’s raining with weed, beer and good times. This is what I picture when I listen to his music and I guess that can pretty much sum up his life in the Mojave desert. Meanwhile, ‘Lazy Wizards’ boasts some sweet, twisted grooves that gently slow down towards the end to great effect, plus the arguably darkest cut here, ‘Somebody’ builds from rich, low end rhythms to crisp, fuzzy riffs. The restrained vocals stand out amid the gritty instrumental, adding a lot to Mankind Woman
's punchier side. Although always laying cozy in his comfort zone, the man makes slight changes on each record. Ultimately, the overall vibe becomes different from predecessors and thankfully, this LP shares its own atmosphere too. It might not be as essential as others in his discography, still, it’s definitely one worth your time. Don't overthink it, just enjoy listening to it.