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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mankind - s/t

Name: Mankind 
Album: s/t
Year: 1983
Style: Modern Soul, Psychedelic
Similar Bands: A's, Foriegner, J. Geils Band, Creedence Clearwater Rev. Supertramp
"One Word" Review: Brassy Pub Soul
Based Out Of: Philadelphia, PA
Label: See-Well Records
 Mankind: Cover & Record
Mankind: Back and Record
Mankind (1983)
  1. Find Out 3:43
  2. Changing Atmosphere 3:12
  3. Note Without A Song 4:31
  4. Passion 3:53
  5. Never Gonna Use Me Again 3:48 /
  6. Rescue Me 2:42
  7. Shades of Time 3:41
  8. I Told You So 3:22
  9. No More Hunger (In The Night) 3:29
  10. Move On Into The Night 4:17
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Dave Lister - Bass, Vox
Rich Grisdale - Guitars, Vox, Percussion
Ed Seiwell - Hammond, ARP, Vox, Percussion
Dave Sullivan - Piano, Clavinet, 12 string Guitar, Lead Vox, Percussion, Producer
Chris Tait - Drums, Percussion
Chuck Whiteman - Sax, Vox
Jim Hamilton - Trumpet
Bill Butryn - Flute
Charlie Tormeth - Percussion, Vox, Producer
Jeannie Brooks - Vox
Bill Haffer - Vox
Dave Starebin - Engineer
John Shivers - Engineer
Dave Moyssiadias - Engineer

Unknowness: I’ve never heard of this band, and from the cover art, I have no idea what will be inside. It is so plain, and vague. There is no insight from the font, from the logo, except that it is just a word picture for the band name: Man (Mars symbol) and Kind (hearted). I can only think that it is going to be somewhat juvenile and amateur sounding from the hand written lyrics from the back, and overall lack of design. I’m only going to guess it is some sort of smirky college rock. But still, it is the simplistic design that attracted me to the album, and made me want to discover just what is on it.

Album Review: “Find Out” begins with a bang. Higher range vocals sing pub rock style over a chugging guitar and a catchy soulful A’s style of rock begins. The verse-chorus repeats note for note a second time, and the sax accents the harmonized hook filled chorus. It has a real working class feel to it and a great driving tempo. It is a very strong opening song, that doesn’t feel like it should be an opening song, but it sets the tone for lots of hooks and J Geils Band pub and brass R&B-influenced blues-rock numbers.
“Changing Atmosphere” slows it down to something slinky and sinister. The chorus breaks out of the mood with some upbeat brass, but it quickly retreats to dark, smooth yet gritty back alley at night vibe.
“Note Without A Song” is quiet and almost preachy. Then the song begins to roll along and it has a southern rock vibe with the country guitar and the basic melody. But the chorus is very catchy and poppy, and the bridge employs almost a jagged surf guitar.
“Passion” is a funky jam with Creedence Clearwater style vocal.
“Never Gonna Use Me Again” is a sad, mournful sultry ballad. It follows suit along the dirty back alley vibe, this case, traveled by a down-on-his-luck sort. It is a steady, foot dragging tempo with a crying sax. The vocals grow in anger/aggression, and are backed by a soulful choir that feels like it would fit in a bluesy jazz genre.

“Rescue Me” is solid cover of the fun, bouncy classic, perhaps, unfortunately more famous for its use in movies and commercials. But this is the key to their musical map. This is the genre and sound they are going for. If you hear their version of this, it will define what they are trying to accomplish with the rest of the album.
“Shades of Time” feels like it is a little progressive in its genre (not to mention the song title). It has flourishes of flute, and harmonies similar to the Bee Gees as well. Finger plucked acoustic guitar gives it a renaissance folksy feel too.
“I Told You So” is a piano driven song, but is introduced with a sax. The vocals remind me of Big Star at first, then somehow, it transitions into a very catchy Foreigner in the chorus. In later versions, it is supported with a nicely balancing harmonized echo.
“No More Hunger (In the Night)” is a nice light rock song, reminding me of the smooth but lite power pop of the 70’s. The brass added makes it feel like a sitcom theme. The chorus steps up and gets very show-tuney-poppy. Then it reverts to a 70’s cop drama with a smooth sax.
“Move On Into the Night” is introduced with quiet vocals and a Supertramp styled organ. This is the slow dance ending the high school prom. It is a very sparse song, with some production, melodies and the “yes it is” line stolen directly from Lennon/Beatles.

Stand Out Track: Find Out

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