Mannequin Men: Mannequin Men

Music Reviews Mannequin Men
Mannequin Men: Mannequin Men

“Rock and roll” just doesn’t have the same ring it once did. With the glut of tastemakers and flavors of the month manufacturing far sexier tags (Dream pop? Shitgaze?), the idea of a straight-ahead rock band has become sadly ho hum.

Chicago’s Mannequin Men are far from sexy. Over the course of three albums the four-piece has bashed out workingman’s rock music aided by chemicals and chemical imbalances. What they have done is remind us how primal and fun rock can be … as well as how truly great bands like the Pixies and the Replacements are.

On their latest self-titled LP, the gents in Mannequin Men dish it out again, with some surprises. Opener “Don’t Grow” sets the tone, a mid-tempo song drenched in a wash of fuzzy guitar, penetrated by guitarist/vocalist Kevin Richard’s lazy, Frank Black caterwaul. “Enough” employs more jangle, less fuzz, but retains the band’s ever-present guitar melody.

In fact, with the exception of “Wake Up Dead” and “OK,” most of the record plods along at the same comfy pace. “Gonna Forget About Me” provides the surprise with its warm, synth backdrop (think less Replacements, more Cure). There’s a little less piss and vinegar in this batch—as if these guys decided to finally move out of the garage and into a (slightly) tidier apartment.

It doesn’t mean Mannequin Men is any less fun, however. It just means these Mannequin Men have become, well, men. And guitars, bass and drums in the hands of those who know their way around a sharp hook will always prevail. Besides, it’s only rock and roll. And we like it.

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