Prior to listening to this record, I admit to having never previously come across Philadelphian outfit Man Man. With this new release On Oni Pond being their fifth full length record, I wasn’t sure if this could be viewed as a bonus or a hindrance. Head honcho Honus Honus, seemingly had umpteen different ideas floating through his thought process at all times during the album’s recording, as each song has a lot going on. This has resulted in you being dragged every which way, and back again, into Man Man’s interpretation of what hook laden, melodic indie pop, should sound like.
With Saddle Creek producer Mike Mogis behind the desk, the record has a pretty polished and orchestral sound to it, at times they’re reminiscent of a more radio friendly Wolf Parade or Modest Mouse. On Oni Pond incorporates a wide variety of different instrumentation throughout, with horns, stings, mandolin, piano and various electronic beats, added into the mix. Their main goal being to accompany Honus Honus’ personal, dark and sexualised lyrics; “Head On” includes the lines – ‘it’s why you’re always misread/it’s why you sleep/but you never feel rested’ while “Loot My Body” mentions –‘feel free to loot my body/just take whatever you want’.
There are a couple of upbeat flavoured tunes on On Oni Pond, as well as the dub influenced “King Shiv”. But can the album be viewed in a positive light, if the rest of it just passes by? I’m not sure it is, to be honest.
Key Tracks: “Head On”
This review was written for Tonedeaf (An Australian music site)