The experimental Philadelphia band, Man Man, celebrates their tenth anniversary with their fifth LP, On Oni Pond. The album opens with a Lynch-y chorus of horns, heralding a sketchy dance groove. Front man Honus Honus’s deep, gruff voice comes in sounding more like the singer from the Mighty Mighty Boss Tones. The level of pop on the opening track, “Pink Wonton,” induces a cringe of suspicion. But, 20 seconds in, the track drives off the road and I’m convinced.

It’s a slicker sound, but Man Man is still not your dentist’s office band. The instrumentation is diverse, the joint is spooky and the percussion is full of quirk and junkyard funk. Man Man’s voodoo lounge sound wriggles and springs out limbs, like a possession. After blowing away audiences opening for Modest Mouse on the We Were Dead Before tour, On Oni Pond is a more-than-appropriate follow-up.

Because the album and this review are nearly over and I have not yet danced in the kitchen, I’m knocking a half-star off the top. Compared with their earlier albums, On Oni Pond sounds far too normal for such a talented band… though it might still scare your neighbours.

By Dave Eso

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