When listening to the latest CD from the New York city band Man on Earth I thought of my high school days because this was the kind of stuff I was into back then. Kind of poppy, kind of rocky, but with an experimental edge that makes this much more than the flavour of the month. The band consists of Steven Nathan (lead vocals), Alex Polaris (guitar, keyboards), David Garcia (drums) and Alex Goumas (bass). Guest musicians include eclectic keyboard player Dr. Fink (Prince) and Stephen Pearcy (the voice of RATT). All Music Guide describes this as "eclectic, experimental rock based music with a commercial accessibility" and this is a good description. This is their second album, their first being released in 2004. The first few songs are pop/rock based tunes with an emphasis on tunefulness and melody. The songs are filled with catchy choruses and up-tempo beats. Nothing mind boggling but very pleasant indeed. Elvis Costello came to mind, not that they sound similar to one another but both have a quirkiness to go along with some outstanding melodies. At times I was also reminded of bands like The Cure.
While I enjoyed the first few songs I believe the album gets more interesting in the second half. "Something Better" has a great Clash-like beat, interesting guitar and keyboard effects, a catchy chorus, and a touch of experimentation that makes this one warrant further listens. I love the atmospheric "Come in Closer" with its heavy Radiohead influence. The slow flowing drone-like melody is a welcome change from the upbeat nature of the first few songs, although the pace does pick up in places adding diversity to the song. Their experimental side really shows its head in this tune, making it one of my favorites. The acoustic "A Birthday Song" follows and is a nice fit after the previously described track. A simple melody line makes this one no less enjoyable. "Walk Away" is another rocker with nice vocals – the background harmonies are particularly pleasing as is the cool psychedelic-like guitar solo.
I believe this band can have good success if they get the necessary exposure. There is an accessibility to their music that could appeal to a wide range of the record buying public. If you are inclined to listen to pop/rock music with an experimental edge you would do well to check this out. This is a solid album and well worth repeated listens garnering 3.5 stars from this reviewer.
1) Here We Are
2) Hold Your Breath and Brace for the Crash
3) All We Want
4) Been Gone Too Long
5) It Feels Like…
7) Something Better
8) Come In Closer
9) A Birthday Song
10) Walk Away
11) So You're the Genius behind This?
12) Something Better Coop Remix