This album from new band Man Made is addictive as crack. At first play through we thought it was enjoyable, solid power pop. At the second play through it all sounded happily familiar and at the fourth play we had to force ourselves to take it off the CD player and do some work.
Opener Carsick Cars opens with snare and kick drum that’s a bit of an Everybeat — the song could go any way but it’s a cheery souped-up pop classic with nice strummed guitar and falsetto “oooo oooos” in the chorus.
The vocals are particular appealing throughout, singer Niles having an appealing, organic voice. Many of the songs remind us of other tunes; some are pretty obscure so we don’t think they’re influences — we guess Man Made just manage to sound like your favourite bands all rolled into one.
Hi Tech Low Life slows it down and opens with a sound that reminded us of Genesis’s Follow Me Follow You. Track three You Never Know How It Feels beefs it up with psychedelic guitar and a majestic bass line that’s almost lifted from Stiltskin’s Inside.
And so it goes: Raining In My Head is downbeat pop that’s a bit Snow Patrol (shades of How To Be Dead) though a happy chorus; Plastic Key To Living is just a cool song; Everything We Miss is a strong acoustic tune. A couple of songs are no more than good, such as Bring Some.
As a whole, a pleasing mix of indie and jingly jangly 60s pop. We called the singer Niles in this review; his last name is Marr and he has a famous dad. But this CD is the least like a son-cashes-in-on-famous-name album you could hear.
The Smiths were The Smiths but Marr Jr has produced a better solo project than his dad ever did. It doesn’t sound like The Smiths at any point, or like Marr Sr’s other bands, The Cribs and Modest Mouse. It’s not as nuanced as some of the other albums reviewed this week, but it’s more instantly fun. A strong, ballsy indie rock n roll album.