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MAN

Man

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.96 | 38 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Man were a curious beast of a band whose West Coast-inspired brand of guitar-solo heavy psych rock constantly straddled the dividing line between 'progressive rock' and 'psychedelic rock'. A bit like, say, The Grateful Dead blended carefully with Yes - when the Welsh rockers are at their very best - Man cultivated a strong live following during their early- 1970's heyday and released a succession of excellent studio albums despite their frequently-changing line-up. Efforts such as 'Be Good To Yourself At Least Once A Day' and 'Back Into The Future' showed a debt of gratitude to the likes of Quicksilver Messenger Service, but also shone with rambling-yet-intricate prog psych aesthetic coloured by their love of epic, bluesy guitar-driven marathons - many of their cuts break the twenty-minute mark - and a sincere love of all things musically West Coast. Some compared them to psych-folk high priests The Grateful dead, yet elements of their sound, especially in their later years, were fiendishly progressive. However, unlike many of their cohorts, Man's weakest material proved to be their earliest recordings, such as debut 'Revelations' and follow-up '2 Oz Of Plastic (With A Hole In The Middle)'. 'Man', their self-titled third album from 1970, sought to somewhat counter their early, and rather kitsch, psychedelic pop sound with a heavy dose of twangin' rock 'n' roll country, placing their new sound far from the old. Indeed, at first listen 'Man' sounds authentically American; tracks such as 'Country Girl' and 'Romain' have a vibrant, rustic and almost funk-driven quality, with steel guitars to the fore and raw, good-time feel soaking each chord. The longer songs feature more proggish ingredients mixed in with the country rock, yet at this point at least, Man had not mastered the art of transferring the epic grandeur of their live shows onto vinyl.The 22 minute long 'Alchemist' has it's moments, but it is more of a case of bad, or maybe inexperienced, musical architecture than simply weak melodies. The other, shorter epic, the punnishly-titled 'Would The Christians Wait Five Minutes? The Lions Are Having A Draw', is a less ambitious affair that shares the sweaty ambience of the album's shorter, funkier tracks but again remains far too long, even at twelve minutes. 'Man' is very much a case of being half a great album - surely one of the only country prog albums? - yet also marks the passage where the boys from Wales grew up to be...well, Man. As transitional abums go, 'Man' does have much to recommend it, especially to those who enjoy the psychedelic West coast rock of Jefferson Airplane and their US counterparts Wizards From Kansas, H.P. Lovecraft and The Grateful Dead. It's certainly not their proggiest or best release(it's probably their least proggiest), but more a fun-time musical experiment that produced a couple of genuine rockers for the road. Recommended for it's uniqueness then, but 'Man' is no serious contender. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
stefro | 3/5 |

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