Board up the windows, lock up all the valuables and send the kids to your sister’s before spinning Man Man’s demented carnival of a debut album. Dropped somewhere between Tom Waits and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins on the freak spectrum, Man Man is a band that just wants to creep the fuck out of everyone.
On The Man in the Blue Turban Without a Face, they employ children’s choirs, toy pianos and two-headed werewolves to great effect. The album is full of eerie dirges, but the most haunting song may be “Gold Teeth.” The beautiful Rhodes progression is mutated by skittering bells and detached backing vocals that sound as if they’re sung by a zombie chorus. On this track and throughout the album, frontman Honus Honus’s born-under-a-bad-sign-vocals echo what Blanco’s gypsy clarinet emotes.
The Man in the Blue Turban Without a Face is an unsettling Mexican funeral march, an album with enough gravity to pull listeners into the seedy musical underworld. Be careful: this album stays with listeners, and its freak-show imagery is bound to haunt your dreams.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars: