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Dr. Manhattan - Dr. Manhattan Album Cover

Dr. Manhattan - Dr. Manhattan

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7.3
Dr. Manhattan - Dr. Manhattan
Record Label: Vagrant Records
Release Date: March 11th, 2008
Halfway between Mars and the smoke shop, Dr. Manhattan are a funky bunch of space cadets. I mean this in a good way. The new Vagrant signees make art rock that's post-punk more than anything else, but it's charming, clever, intelligible and precisely erratic to the core. More in the spazzy seats, like an unruly little brother to Cursive, than the genre-bending, mind-fucking experimental box, Dr. Manhattan is fresh in a set of all-over-the-place, stage-raping contemporaries like Kiss Kiss, Foxy Shazam and Man Man. The first full-length from the Illinois foursome is a grasping 11-song punch. No, literally, it can sock you in the face.

The album opens up with "Big Chomper, Big Chomper", a speedy, crashing and distorted mammoth. Singer Matt Engers introduces his impatient, careless yelping without any looking back, and by the time the track leeways into "You Put The I In Team", it's difficult to differentiate between the two. There's just a lot going on here. It takes a few seconds, or a few tracks, to get adjusted. By the time the band steps back to trip on a few atmospheric textures on the end of "Team", "Dirty, Scandalous, Dirty" opens with tumultuous, mischievous guitars. It's not until kitschy lyrical beat "Tracey's Buns" (Milkshakes are pretty fucking tasty/but I enjoy you more/because you're Tracey/and I love you/so much) that the album takes a (purposefully?) awkward acoustic water break. I'm grateful for the breather and the track's total randomness. Because random can be endearing.

Structurally, Dr. Manhattan never feels sloppy or unplanned but conveniently disorderly, almost as though things in the studio just happened, like a conglomerate of organic rumples that fell into place. Between the fritzy guitars, the grab bag of impressive drumming or faint touches of piano and electronics, the product is thick with texture. But take all of this with a grain of salt, or rather, be prepared to mouth down a few abrasive melodies.

"Claims Should Echo" is the bread winner. The verses/choruses are perfect in ferocity and good-natured sequencing, the kind of song that makes an impression on a mixed CD or two. And, even though he's never hidden on other tracks, Engers is in top beast form. He understands inflection is supposed to be as moving as tone, and he integrates the grit and raunchiness of his vocals to a model of post-punk. Right after "Claims Should Echo", however, is "Gunpowder: A Ballet", a stubborn stump blocking the destructive, albeit infectious, path Dr. Manhattan has paved. It's not as magnetizing as the others. "Baton Rouge" falls short even with its cool as ice jazz trumpet. The album begins to drop off towards the end, or moreover, I begin to drop off towards the end. "Minds Like Ours" and "Peppers" are exhaustive and bleed into the rest of the album. It's time to rest. Maybe I'm just not tough enough to roll with Dr. Manhattan?

RIYLMan Man, Kiss Kiss, Foxy Shazam, grindcore-less The Blood Brothers, Cursive, Band Marino
Check It OutAP Profile | Myspace | Smartpunk
This review is a user submitted review from Julia Conny. You can see all of Julia Conny's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 31
11:18 PM on 04/09/08
#2
evilandgood
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wow i'm surprised you didn't dig this record more.
oh well I really enjoyed it, and THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS.

i also thought the lyrics were better than 7.25. I found them pretty clever, kinda pretentious, but on the whole really really clever.
03:32 AM on 04/10/08
#3
tait
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^^ same i really like this album
05:03 AM on 04/10/08
#4
gregorizzle
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this is one of my unsurprisingly favorite releases of the year thus far.
05:08 AM on 04/10/08
#5
phallus:minimus
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yeah real nice album.
Reminds of Karate HS or Brazil with grownup hellogoodbye lyrics.
Lots of tempo changes and lurching rythym.
Crazy vocal production effects. Diverse vocabulary.
Shout-outs and sing-a-longs. Nintendo synths.
Feedback. Electronic Static.

Me likey.
06:26 AM on 04/10/08
#6
Gregory Robson
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This review makes me want to be a better writer.
You captured the zaniness of it perfectly.
Nice review, Julia.
07:53 AM on 04/10/08
#7
provethatIexist
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Baton Rouge and Minds Like Ours were 2 of the tracks that stood out to me on first listen. maybe it's their positions on the album? or maybe you just aren't tough enough!

either way, very good review.

i saw this band live before i had even heard of them or heard any of their material, and they definitely caught my attention and haven't let go since. i was really impressed at the way their album was as catchy and as fun as their live show. this is one i can listen to from start to finish without skipping tracks.

go now and catch them live. now. now. now. ok? no? FINE! now? now.
08:28 AM on 04/10/08
#8
newfoundmichael
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Very nice review. I enjoyed the reading, but thought that this deserved a bit of a higher score (as you could see on my review of it.)
08:48 AM on 04/10/08
#9
JonathanDTEA
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nice review, biotch
10:03 AM on 04/10/08
whyte39
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the myspace link is a bit screwed up...it's easy enough for me to fix when i click it....just saying, just saying.
10:24 AM on 04/10/08
Julia Conny
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wow i'm surprised you didn't dig this record more.
oh well I really enjoyed it, and THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS.

i also thought the lyrics were better than 7.25. I found them pretty clever, kinda pretentious, but on the whole really really clever.

You're right, the lyrics were pretty clever. If I could re-do the ratings, I probably would move the lyrics up a bit. I guess I don't think a 73 is that bad either. I'm trying to be more reasonable with my scores because I know a lot of our users think that we rate too high all the time.

yeah real nice album.
Reminds of Karate HS or Brazil with grownup hellogoodbye lyrics.
Lots of tempo changes and lurching rythym.
Crazy vocal production effects. Diverse vocabulary.
Shout-outs and sing-a-longs. Nintendo synths.
Feedback. Electronic Static.

Me likey.

Haha. You've summed the album up nicely.

This review makes me want to be a better writer.
You captured the zaniness of it perfectly.
Nice review, Julia.

Thanks!
10:27 AM on 04/10/08
Julia Conny
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Baton Rouge and Minds Like Ours were 2 of the tracks that stood out to me on first listen. maybe it's their positions on the album? or maybe you just aren't tough enough!

either way, very good review.

i saw this band live before i had even heard of them or heard any of their material, and they definitely caught my attention and haven't let go since. i was really impressed at the way their album was as catchy and as fun as their live show. this is one i can listen to from start to finish without skipping tracks.

go now and catch them live. now. now. now. ok? no? FINE! now? now.

I want to see them live so bad.

Very nice review. I enjoyed the reading, but thought that this deserved a bit of a higher score (as you could see on my review of it.)

Thanks :)

I'm trying to calibrate my scores to not rate everything so high, I feel like I've fallen victim to that recently. So that kinda explains the drop in ratings.
10:55 AM on 04/10/08
MarlaSinger
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Every time I read a cd review, I always find that the reviewer goes "its the best thing ever." In this review, you didn't do that. Thank you. Dr. Manhattan's music isn't perfect, you can hear that through a few songs. The fact that you mention it and that some songs toward the end aren't as good, I appreciate that. I still want to buy this cd. I wanted it before this review and I still want it now. I'm seeing them at Warped Tour this summer and I'm sure that even if the cd doesn't entirely win me over their performance will. That seems to happen to me often. Most recently its been with The Cab. Good review, thanks.
11:25 AM on 04/10/08
Julia Conny
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the myspace link is a bit screwed up...it's easy enough for me to fix when i click it....just saying, just saying.

Fixed it. Appreciate you pointing that out for moi.

Every time I read a cd review, I always find that the reviewer goes "its the best thing ever." In this review, you didn't do that. Thank you. Dr. Manhattan's music isn't perfect, you can hear that through a few songs. The fact that you mention it and that some songs toward the end aren't as good, I appreciate that. I still want to buy this cd. I wanted it before this review and I still want it now. I'm seeing them at Warped Tour this summer and I'm sure that even if the cd doesn't entirely win me over their performance will. That seems to happen to me often. Most recently its been with The Cab. Good review, thanks.

Your words are kind and true, thank you. I still really want to see this band live. I hope I get that chance soon. From everything I've heard about their live show, I definitely shouldn't be missing it.
11:25 AM on 04/10/08
Joe DeAndrea
Radiosurgery
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I like this album.

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