Published Apr 30, 2020On their first release since 2013, LA's Man Man offer a sprawling oasis of orchestral freak-rock. Over 17 tracks and 50 minutes, Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between presents a monster mash of tumbling rhythms, tampered orchestration, and the band's signature skeleton-plays-itself-as-xylophone earworms.
In the long interim between albums, Man Man's scope has expanded: bandleader Honus Honus (né Ryan Kattner) has spent the last half-decade dabbling in myriad other projects, including film and television work (he was a music supervisor on the televised reboot of The Exorcist, among other credits), and that cinematic experience is put to good use here.
The band feel invigorated by the album's wealth of sounds. "Future Peg" is an irrepressible shuffle, while "Goat" traverses shifting dunes of instrumentation to deliver an apparently true story of infidelity and lethal salmonella. Throughout the album, short instrumentals — the glitzy descent of opener "Dreamers", the Captain Beefheart pile-on of "Oyster Bay" — offer tonal shifts throughout.
Honus's lyrics are as fever dream as ever — "The Prettiest Song In the World" has a clergyman find Satan 69ing in a motel room — but the widened instrumental prowess across Dream Hunting gives a fresh edge to his words. In times as chaotic as these, Man Man provides a restless soundtrack to match. (Sub Pop)