With their first self-titled album release at the end of 2010, indie rock band, Manwomanchild, has had their second album, Awkward Island, in the works for 5 years now. In between this album hiatus however, there have been single releases and a soundtrack for an ios/android game by the name of Floyds Worthwhile Endeavour, which was written and recorded by the band.
While Manwomanchilds second offering, Awkward Island, has a sound reminiscent of the Beatles in their Rubber Soul era and vintage stylings that could transport you back to the 60s and occasionally the 70s, it does lack a somewhat modern twist on the classic rock sound, which may or may not be what Manwomanchild were going for. The only issue with replicating such a classic old school sound, quite well, but without too much experimentation, is that it may have difficulty resonating with the wider audience. A listener that is a fan of retro will generally just listen to albums from its original time as it’s obviously the most authentic representation of the sound, while a listener that is not interested in that style of music generally is not enticed to listen, due to a lack of any relatively new musical markings taking place.
Mixing genres and molding a unique sound is a major benefit and blessing of creating music nowadays so it’s a shame when it’s not taken advantage of. In comparison to their self-titled album, their newest release, Awkward Island, is a little less diverse in sound and tempo and some songs are characterised by similar sounding guitar riffs which can at times become a little monotonous.
In saying that, Awkward Island does not come without its curious, quirky lyric, and catchy melodies, between State Of Exceptions, “In the pools of butter/gathered on my plate/I could see the outlines of your face/Everyone looks better in disgrace.”, which is then followed by a violin swooping in pre-chorus and during the chorus to accompany the panned harmonies and guitar strums.
When it comes to catchy melodies, One Of Each, in particular, has a catchy hook with, “The city is my one true friend/we fall in love again and again/like dancers in that movie no one saw”, again making use of harmonies to emphasise the melody. The Telepath Returns comes with its own creepy psychedelic kick with its unusual high pitch wavers during the chorus, and of which the word “ghost” in the lyric, “Even though I’m just a ghost/I can be a charming host/(ghost, host)”, leers, before having the song suddenly perk up again. It really gives you a strange, but oddly satisfying form, of intentional whiplash.
Overall Manwomanchild has a sound, but does it have a bookmark that distinguishes and sets it apart from others? Not necessarily.