Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Rabbit Habits

Oddballs whose carnivalesque song "10 lb. Moustache" soundtracked a Nike ad with Rainn Wilson

Man Man is a hippie-looking Philadelphia five-piece renowned for apparently spontaneous nonstop shows--neo-communalists in the manner of Yeasayer or Animal Collective. The special something they bring to the party is jokes--they're funny rather than starry-eyed. Leader Ryan Kattner, a.k.a. Honus Honus, considers being broke and bouncing in and out of relationships bigger influences than the Captain Beefheart records his admirers cite, and the shouted lyrics on their third album bear this out--many reference romantic downs and ups literally and decipherably, although not without devil, zombie and volcano metaphors. The tunes are basically chants, the drumming is more straight-ahead than "tribal" and when the vibraphone trips in after 40 seconds of "The Ballad of Butter Beans," you may not bust a gut laughing, but you'll probably grin. Live, maybe you'd bust a gut laughing.

Blender, June 2008