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Man Man: ‘Life Fantastic’ on the fringe

Formed in Philadelphia in the mid-2000s, experimental indie-rock bandMan Man play a hometown concert Saturday night at Union Transfer.

Formed in Philadelphia in the mid-2000s, experimental indie-rock band Man Man play a hometown concert Saturday night at Union Transfer. The band’s bizarre combination of junkyard blues, Eastern European bounce and chaotic, circus-like energy made critically-acclaimed albums like “Six Demon Bag” (2006) and “Rabbit Habbits” (2008) sound unlike anything else on the indie market.

Released on indie label ANTI Records last May, “Life Fantastic” might be their best album yet.

Rather than bashing listeners over the head with speed and sonic ferocity, meticulous instrumentation and clever songwriting were prioritized. Man Man had clearly matured, and the music was better than ever. But, for some reason, “Life Fantastic” didn’t earn as much praise as past albums did. “It wasn’t a conscious decision to make it sound different,” says frontman Ryan Kattner. “It’s just that the band is constantly changing. I can’t write the same songs I used to — I was out of my gourd at 22, and I’m a different person now. We put a lot into this album, and it just flew under the radar.”

Despite not getting the critical attention the album may have deserved, the fan base Man Man has built remains strong and loyal. And, “Life Fantastic” has allowed the band to make valuable connections with their supporters. “From all the touring we’ve done, this is the first time people have come up to us after a show to tell us how much the album impacted them,” says Kattner. “It speaks volumes to the transformative quality of music. It’s been very cool.”

 
 
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