Music | CD Revue: Man Man, Jim Noir, Tokyo Police Club 

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Man Man Rabbit Habits
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Rabbit Habits
could be the most annoying album you’ll hear all year. Or the most delightfully unique—it really depends on your stance regarding “Viking-vaudeville, manic Gypsy jazz” music. It wouldn’t be unfair to call Man Man a novelty act, but they craft their piano-infused stomps with so much gusto that it’s hard to deny the genuine skill. Songs like “The Ballad of Butter Beans”—thanks to an unruly xylophone—recall the manic joy of The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. Lead crooner Honus Honus oozes sleaze with his scratchy voice, especially on the track “Big Trouble,” a menacing little dirge that feels like a marching band playing their own funeral. Sure, you may not care about Gypsy jazz next year, but for now Rabbit Habits is your lethal dose of fun so you won’t ever need another fix. (Anti)

Jim Noir S/T

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If you bought a bunch of foreign robots and tried to teach them how to play Beach Boys songs, you’d probably end up with Jim Noir’s music: The basic elements are there, but technologic limitations make it … off. There is the bouncy, surf-guitar and pleasant vocal harmonies on tracks like “Same Place Holiday,” but each song has an underlying darkness that gives the album an air of compelling unease. “Good Old Vinyl” begins with a high-pitched prelude reminiscent of the Eels before plodding through an electric chorus best-suited for Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. While the overall mood is intriguing, it renders many of the tracks indistinguishable from one another, at least until the ever-somber closer “On a Different Shelf.” (Barsuk)

Tokyo Police Club Elephant Shell

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For all the heat and publicity that Tokyo Police Club has garnered for their two blistering EPs, it’s a little bit of a shame that their first full-length is a completely enjoyable-yet-forgettable album. Elephant Shell sounds like it tries to live up to impossible expectations, but finds the band losing a lot of its identity in the process. That’s not to say that this is a terrible album, however. “Your English is Good,” the album’s strongest track, includes bouncing, two-chord synthesizers and rim-shot rhythms that will get any square pogo-ing, and singer David Monks has retained his longing vocal-swagger that grounds the album. In the end, we’re left with a slight pop when there should have been an explosion. (Saddle Creek)

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About The Author

Ryan Bradford

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