Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Alt-country + alt-rock = Man Made Sea

November 7, 2011

A quintessential staple of ’90s rock was the slacker who sounded as if the song he was singing was all that was worth getting excited about in the world. Man Made Sea takes that mentality and runs with it, adding in a liberal dose of alt-country to create a laconic yet engaging sound for the 15 minutes of Super Saver.

The band opens with “Devil,” which is a walking-pace country tune that gets swallowed up by ’90s distortion. It’s an ear-catching opener, subverting expectations at every turn. The title track is a slower take on the same sound that’s short enough to get by on the ominous vocal performance and nostalgia factor. It’s “Hammer” where the band finally lets it rip: Vocal hooks galore traipse about on top of a backdrop that perfectly meshes the sweeping feel of alt-country to the slacker ideals of Weezer’s era. The song builds to all sorts of excellent at the end of the track, and it’s easily the best track here.

After a too-’90s Beck-ian tune (“Heart of a Grizzly”), the band closes up shop with the acoustic “Holmes Sweet Holmes,” which fits quite well. The song lands somewhere between Joseph Arthur and Alexi Murdoch on the chill-ometer.

Man Made Sea has an easily likable sound and songwriting chops to pull it off. You’ll be rocking out to “Devil,” humming “Hammer” and putting “Holmes Sweet Holmes” on mixtapes for girls, and as I’ve noted before, those are pretty much the three best reasons I listen to music. That’s a trifecta for Man Made Sea and a win for you, if you check the band out.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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