Album Notes: Man Man - Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between
Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between arrives at the perfect time. With so many things disappearing from our lives, finally, finally, a righteous band, one I've been waiting for new music from since 2013, reemerges and comes up clutch. Perhaps nothing encapsulates Man Man better than what leader Honus Honus told American Songwriter: "I'd much rather have a blazing marimba solo than a blues-based guitar solo." Yes. A more efficient summation of the Philadelphia/Los Angeles group could not have been stated by anyone less than the singer/pianist himself.
If half of that previous paragraph makes little sense, don't worry, just follow the sage advice prescribed by the Doobie Brothers and listen to the music. Honus (aka Ryan Kattner) has seen lineups shuffle behind him, but despite the six-year hiatus between records, Man Man returns doing what Man Man has always done: kicking ass, giving zero fucks, and dropping music right up my alley. Go back and listen to any of their previous output and the foundation of what makes this band great still remains, namely Kattner's stomping piano-driven tunes that bring to mind Zappa not only in terms of musical whimsy and occasional theatricality, but lyrical irreverence. His raw but tuneful voice continues to be wrapped around songs that get catchier by the album.
Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between opens asking, "Nothing ever lasts, haven't you learned this by now?" That can certainly serve as a point of reflection but also a reason for optimism these days. Yet it equally applies to the ever-changing musicians around Honus. Man Man has always been, somewhat ironically, a one-man show. While it still may not be music for the masses, it speaks to me. But who am I? Just one man who loves Man Man.
Also...how can you not love a band that has a word search on their website?