Listening to Man Man’s music is taking a journey down a rabbit hole, observing a world that mirrors yours but is a little less predictable, a little less sane. Life Fantastic continues that tradition, immersing the listener in a series of incongruous narratives and song structures.
With clever wordplay and eccentric storytelling, frontman Ryan Kattner weaves hallucinatory tales of twisted love, drug abuse and cannibalism. Backing the unsettling stories are ridiculously catchy indie rock hooks, mostly based around Kattner’s keyboards. Man Man thrives on toying with the listener’s expectations, offering syncopated rhythms and specializing in dynamic shifts in volume and speed.
“Spooky Jookie” tells the story of a woman whose body is breaking down from drug addiction. “Her body condemned itself to feeling like an empty building,” Kattner laments. The creepy “Haute Tropique” portrays a serial killer turning corpses into household objects. He feels bad about his murderous urges, but is motivated by a voice in his head saying “you’re born what you’re meant to be; if you’re bad then be bad the best.” “Shameless,” the album’s best track, tells the more relatable story of a man suffering from unrequited love, but it still retains Man Man’s trademark eccentricity.
Life Fantastic has some stripped down moments, such as the desolate ballad “Steak Knives.” However, Man Man is at their best when over the top, splicing divergent styles and instruments with eerie tales of the dregs of society. Man Man knows what they were meant to be, and at what they do, they are the best.
Review previously posted on GlideMagazine.com