Man Man is one of the strangest bands I’ve ever heard. With names of current members like Honus Honus and Pow Pow, and past members like Kritter Krat, Chang Wang, and Turkey Moth, This is a band that prides itself on embracing the strange aspects of life, from living in a storage unit or jokingly starting an interview with a few good minutes of a suicide joke. That’s the kind of band they are, and you can hear every part of their strange life on their album On Oni Pond.
While most bands usually stick to one genre in an album (or their whole career), Man Man’s album varies in its thirteen tracks. The first track, Oni Swan, is a 45 second musical instrumental of discordant trumpets and violins that suddenly gives way to Pink Wonton, a more disco/electric track. Nothing would give any indication of the change, but it somehow comes a bit naturally, like a climax to a soft build-up.
That seems to be the case with most of these songs, just constant change from rock songs like Pyramids and Loot My Body, to the soft indie pop Head On and Deep Cover, and back to some that I can’t categorize like King Shiv or Paul’s Grotesque. It’s so over the map that I think they just changed their mind constantly when making songs. While that may sound bad, it works.
Man Man seems to really love poking fun at pop culture as well, equating Call Me Maybe on an endless loop to a form of torture and yelling “girls just want to have fun” in the closing track. My favorite one has to be when Honus Honus quietly tells the listeners to “put the lotion in the basket” because everyone needs a good Silence of the Lambs nod.
Somehow the constant changes don’t hinder the album at all. The shifts and slides provide fresh takes after every song, and changing sides from a to b to c acts as a sort of reset as well. You’ll want to dance, sing along, or just sit back and reflect which is impressive. This is one of the few random buys that I didn’t regret.