Not since Mayor Wilson Goode has something so crazy come out of the City of Brotherly Love as Man Manâ€™s Zappa-esque experimentalism and rather knotty cabaret ruckus. The weirdness is laid on thick like the cheesewhizz on greasy Philly Cheesesteak while the gravely voice of front man Honus Honus is at the helm of what is quite possibly the oddball gem for 2006.
The opener 'Feathers' contains a piano sway which seems like it could have been lifted from just about any Angelo-Saxon pub ditty of the past three centuries as Honusâ€™ growl sings in a peculiar tone which makes the track seem like a quirky overture. It then segues into the carnival tinged 'Engrish Bwudd' where the only element missing is someone shrieking "Step right up!" and instead what we get is the cheeky chanting of â€œfee-fi-fo-fumâ€. When compared to Man Man most carnival people seem normal, however it is Man Manâ€™s sense of skewed execution in their delivery that renders them as a sonic delicacy and 'Six Demon Bagâ€™s' squeaky backing vocals and harmonies that makes it at times seem like an opulent piece for elves and gnomes hopping about while under the influence of mushrooms.
'Banana Ghost' is an almost bastardized Celtic groove meets skewed klezmer before indulging in the kaleidoscopic temper tantrum of 'Young Einstein on the Beach'. Tics are abound as well throughout this efforts whoops, hoots, and hollering that pop up unexpectedly while at the same time serving a homage to all of the unstable paladins of odd and/or psychedelic music be it Syd Barrett, Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, Julian Cope, Roky Erikson, and even Arthur Brown (what ever happened to him?).
If one would ever ponder the resonance of simultaneous battle cries of ewoks and Nordic tribes before they are about to clash than look no further than 'Hot Bat' while the free jazz musings in 'Push the Eagles Stomach' is a prime example of what this album is; something that is completely overdone and gorgeous sounding at the same time as just about every and any track from 'Six Demon Bag' would be most apt for JRR Tolkienâ€™s iPod.