You could never accuse Man Man of being an upbeat band: cannibals, wolfmen, and plenty of heartbreak litter the Philly-L.A. band’s catalog, going all the way back to their 2004 debut, The Man in a Blue Turban With a Face.
Man Man’s upcoming LP, Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between, out May 1st, is perhaps their most devastating yet. There may be fewer obvious monsters this time, but there are demons aplenty.
“It’s been a while since our last album, and to say it was a hell of a ride to get here would be an understatement,” frontman and sole remaining original member Ryan Kattner (a.k.a. Honus Honus) tells Rolling Stone. “In hindsight, if it weren’t for all the roadblocks and heartbreaks, I don’t think the best album of my career would’ve been forced out of me. Life is complicated. Find the joy when and where you can, because it can all be over before you know it.”
After cycling through members — and labels — Kattner and Co. landed with Sub Pop for their sixth studio album, the followup to 2013’s On Oni Pond. The first single, “Cloud Nein,” drops Wednesday via a quirky lyric video directed by Kattner himself that features only clip art. In it, an old man dances down the street as Kattner sings, “Nothing ever lasts/ Haven’t you learned this by now?/ Were you born in a briar with your head upside down?”
Despite the characteristic negativity of the song, the music belies its darker side, finding Kattner wailing on the chipper-sounding chorus, “I don’t wanna know if/ You’re living on cloud nein/ I don’t wanna know if/ You’re living in denial.” In the end, a meteor crashes into the planet where the old man dances, negating his frolic in the sun.
Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between follows Kattner’s 2016 solo album as Honus Honus, Use Your Delusion. Dream Hunting was produced by Cyrus Ghahremani, mixed by S. Husky Höskulds (Tom Waits, Solomon Burke, Bettye LaVette, Allen Toussaint) and mastered by Dave Cooley (Blood Orange, M83, DIIV, Paramore, Snail Mail, Clipping). The album also features a guest appearance from Rebecca Black, of “Friday” fame.
“Me, I’m a lost soul, and if I don’t keep making music then my head explodes,” Kattner said around the release of his solo album. “It’s a self-preservation thing.”
Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between Track List
2. “Cloud Nein”
3. “On the Mend”
4. “Lonely Beuys”
5. “Future Peg”
7. “Inner Iggy”
9. “Oyster Point”
10. “The Prettiest Song in the World”
11. “Animal Attraction”
13. “Unsweet Meat”
15. “Powder My Wig”
16. “If Only”
17. “In the Valley of the In-Between”