Man or Astro-Man? - "Made From Technetium"
(Touch And Go Records 1997, TG180CD)
Man or Astro-Man? - "1000X"
(Touch And Go Records 1997, 167CD, CD-EP)
From Aural Innovations #5 (January 1999)
If space themes were the only criteria for being a spacerock band then these guys would be the hands down kings. The cover to "Made From Technetium" is all rocket ships and the inside depicts pieces of a rocket and what I guess is a schematic for technetium. Glancing through several other of their CD's in the store I saw some that were right out of the old sci fi pulp covers of the 20's and 30's. But while sci fi themes can certainly be a part of spacerock there is another element that we might want to consider... the music.
Ok, so Man or Astro-Man isn't spacerock. All these cool covers got the better of me and I had to buy a couple. What they are is a kick ass surf-rock Devo type band. I really liked them. I can't, however, comment too extensively because most of the songs were indistinguishable from one another. They've got one idea and have defined it as their sound. Heavy surf rockin' guitars that play space labbouncing rock. To their credit the band does kick out some off-the-wall sounds and the guitars really do crunch. And the vocals are a non-melodic monolog style that reminds me of MX-80 Sound. In fact, the music is like a less aggressive MX-80. An influence maybe?
What is it about space themes and surf music? I remember some months ago seeing a CD by a band called the Space Cossacks with a total sci fi cover and song titles. But I found their web page first and they turned out to be a surf band too. Man or Astro-Man is a lot more fun though and while I probably won't pick up any more CD's I'd definitely check them out live. Note that Made From Technetium is a full length CD while 1000X is a 30 minute CD-EP.
You can visit Man or Astroman at their web site.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz