Like a carnival without the carnies and all the empty calories.

Man Man – Rabbit Habits – Album Review

8/10

Rabbit Habits is Man Man’s third full length album. It was released in April of 2008 on Anti Records.  Reviews are mostly favorable across the board.

This is the first review, of many, which will focus on older albums.  Why?  Because I feel like it.  Also because I’ve been rediscovering a lot of my collection for one reason or another.  I’m teaching a very important lesson.  Music doesn’t have to be new to be good.  Now you know.

This album is first and foremost… fun.  The instrumentation is fun, the lyrics are fun, the vocals are fun, the song titles are fun, the album artwork is fun.  Everything about it is fun.  With that in mind, this album is mostly about hard times, blood-lust, and doomed relationships.  Some might say, “Hey Zak, how can an album, which is mostly about hardships and atrocities of humanity be fun?”.  To you I’d say, “Because.”

The music speaks for itself.  Even if you only took the vocals into consideration, and nothing else.  The crooning of the lead singer, who happens to call himself Honus Honus, is a gritty mess that ends up sounding more like the drunken growl of a maniacal hobo than anything.  When he belts out, “Whoa is me!, I’m a zombie!, you believe it.  Then you can put the music itself into perspective.  Xylophones, organs, killer percussion, and even fireworks play a part in this crazy collage of filthy brushstrokes that leave a strangely beautiful image on your brain’s canvas.

The first two thirds of the disc are wildly entertaining, even if a little bit immature.  The last third however, is soul crushing.  The final four consisting of the title track “Rabbit Habits”, “Top Drawer”, “Poor Jackie”, and “Whalebones” are just so completely emotional that they tear me apart every time I hear them.  They take the listener to such dark places in such clever ways.  On “Poor Jackie”, Honus Honus rings out, “Rescue me, is written on your bed/home is where the bullet lands as it travels through your head.”  Relationships are explored to perfection on “Whalebones” when he sings, “He thinks from the heart, instead of the head/his mouth and his words, they rarely connect/he looks to the past, and where his tongue’s tread/and he knows he’s meant the opposite/she holds him, like an infant/though it breaks her in half to know he’ll wake up a man/sold on cold indifference, when he reaches for her, she’s gone, she slips like the wind through blackened sails/but who are we to love at all?”  I mean COME ON!!  Listen to it.  It’s a kick in the pants, but it’s good for ya.

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