In rotation: Mannequin Men's upcoming self-titled album
A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers & contributors are listening to right now...
There's a reassuringly tattered and lived-in saunter to Mannequin Men's latest effort, due Nov. 8. Consider it the aural equivalent to the neighborhood dive bar, one that long ago learned to celebrate its everyday normality. “You should get a hobby, girl, or find somebody else to talk to,” the act declares early in the album. It can be heard as a condescending lecture to a significant other, perhaps, but the ease with which the line is delivered makes it feel more like a succinct summation of post-workday emotional exhaustion.
Eight-year veterans on the Chicago scene, Mannequin Men earned a reputation as one of the Windy City's most recklessly drunk rock bands. There's a ramshackle quality here, but this is punk rock at its most relaxed.
“Gonna Forget About Me” is a country-flavored downplaying of yet another breakup, while the grown-up obligations of “Medill” are delivered with brightly colored lead guitar lines that flirt with power-pop balladry. “Enough,” meanwhile, digs up some garage-rock aggression with its seen-it-all frustration.
Bassist Miles Raymer reluctantly calls this, the band's fourth effort, the group's most mature album in the act's bio. “Turning 30,” he writes, is a “cliché.” Music that acts its age, however, most definitely is not.
— Todd Martens
Image courtesy Addenda Records