Man Man Man In A Blue Turban With A Face

[Ace Fu; 2004]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: experimental rock
Others: Tom Waits, Need New Body, Deerhoof

It's quite possible that back in 1970 when Sun Ra began calling the City of Brotherly Love his homebase, something that his Arkestra discharged seeped into the city's water supply. Thirty years later we're starting to see the results of this exciting musical-chemical calamity: local bands like Need New Body, Dysrhythmia, Espers, and Wolf Vs. have been slowly but surely bringing Philly out of the musical doldrums brought on by the repulsive smooth jazz of Philadelphia International Records and countless years of Boyz-II-Men prom dirges.

Now it's time to add a new name to the hodgepodge of Philly acts pushing the proverbial envelope: Man Man. A prime contender for possessing the possibly worst moniker in the history of music (recorded or otherwise), Man Man have concocted a wonderfully eclectic sound taking equal parts from pure lunacy, cabaret, seedy circus carnies, and Captain Beefheart (as is customary for critics to compare any band that doesn't sound like Interpol to Mr. Van Vliet), among other disparate influences.

On Man In A Blue Turban With A Face, the troop meld infectious rhythms (pretty much every track), eclectic instrumentation (horns, synthesizers, marimba, etc.), deliciously insane vocals evocative of a more pensive Tom Waits ("10 Lb. Moustache") at times, and a cracked-out Screamin' Jay Hawkins ("White Rice, Brown Heart") at others. The group brings it all together with a set of ridiculously catchy melodies (I've had "I, Manface" stuck in my head for days) that retain a child-like quality similar to that of hometown peers Need New Body, without coming across as condescending or, even worse, NNB embezzlers.

All these elements combine to create what is a powerfully original sound that'll have you begging -- and I mean this in the most blatantly sexual way possible -- for another helping of Man Man.

1. Against the Peruvian Monster
2. 10lb. Moustache
3. Zebra
4. Sarsparillsa
5. White Rice, Brown Heart
6. Gold Teeth
7. Magic Blood
8. The Fog or China
9. I, Manface
10. Man Who Make You Sick
11. Werewolf (On the Hood of Yer Heartbreak)