Man Made – Bullingdon, Oxford. Published in Oxford Mail 8/3/16
In Greek mythology there are ways to combat the fear of being parentally overshadowed. Cronus, son of Uranus, had his father castrated, Perseus bashed Acrisuis’ head in with a discus and Oedipus had his own brand of vigilante violence and incest. With none of these being a viable option in 21st Century Britain, Nile Marr will have to accept that when we talk about Man Made, comparisons to Johnny Marr, possibly the most innovative and extraordinary guitarist of any generation, are a given. While his parentage has most probably led to a few foots in doors professionally, the gargantuan size of those shoes undoubtedly feel formidable and unfeasible to fill.
Man Made have made steady progress during their short life span and are currently touring their anticipated debut album TV Broke My Brain, released in April 2016. The groups style is perhaps not what you would expect from a band with quintessential Mancunian roots, Marr citing Fugazi and Modest Mouse as major influences, and this is apparent with their Americana induced brand of Northern jangle pop. Marr’s guitar work is certainly mesmerising and his intricate, soaring riffs perk the ears and quicken the pulse. The use of unconventional guitar tunings and discordant drones allow him to represent both rhythm and lead guitar roles simultaneously and there is a fullness to Man Made’s sound which is sometimes absent from a three piece band.
The songs themselves are perhaps not as strong as the craft of musicianship and Marr has a weakness in his voice symptomatic of a performer who is a guitarist first and a vocalist second. However it’s the middle eights, breakdowns and outro’s where the band truly excel and with a tight and muscular rhythm section, Marr delights with the kind of unorthodox originality which gave Marr Snr his unique and genre defining sound. What else is apparent is the humble and deferential nature of Marr himself who jokes about the poor turnout and charms the audience with his appreciation for our presence.
Marr’s huge talent and ingenuity as a guitarist may not translate in the recording studio as it does live and without radio friendly hooks their album TV Broke My Brain will most likely not set the world alight. However this is a band still in its infancy and with Marr at the helm there is certainly more to come from this imaginative and refreshing three piece. Definitely a happy Marr-thers day for one and all.