Honus Honus Keeps Piano Rock Inventive On Solo Debut ‘Use Your Delusion’

honus2Use Your Delusion, the debut solo album by Man Man frontman Honus Honus, is an album that is both eclectic and unsurprising. It carries all of the trademarks of Honus Honus’s other work – the eccentric lyrics, dark imagery, complex song structures, and piano-based instrumentation. It is unsurprising only in that the album doesn’t sound much different from a Man Man record – which isn’t a bad thing. Whatever his reasons for going solo, Honus Honus (real name Ryan Kattner) didn’t do so to explore sonic territory that was off limits for his collaboration with Pow Wow (real name Christopher Powell) and the others, aside from adding more (a lot more) 80s-style synthesizers into the mix.

Album opener “Vampires in the Valley” could easily be in the soundtrack for a horror movie, with its crawling, creepy keyboard line and ominous rumbling bass. Kattner describes a vampire who lives in the basement of his building. “Carving a coffin out of Fangoria magazines, pantomiming ‘let me suckle all of your blood, please.’” It serves as a prologue to Use Your Delusion, setting the tone musically and lyrically but abruptly ending before telling its own story. Upbeat tracks like “The Stripper Has No Navel” and “Midnight Caller” show Kattner at his gonzo best, spitting out bizarre lines over jerky, discordant jams. “She says she likes the sound of cars colliding, pigeons hitting windows, bridesmaids crying” Kattner sings on the very unsexy stripper song.

In the brief “Will You,” Kattner playfully juxtaposes the melody of a love song with blunt questioning of suicidal thoughts. “Will you blow your brains out on a Monday or will you wait it out, see if your love comes around and do it Tuesday?” he asks. In “Curious Magic,” Kattner showcases another of his favorite tricks: beginning a lyric in one direction before taking it in the opposite direction. “Everyone knows that the quickest way to your heart is through your chest and your breast bone,” he sings over a highly danceable groove.

Use Your Delusion builds upon Man Man’s 2013 album On Oni Pond, while dialing up the melody and reverb and adding some synths. The controlled insanity for which Honus Honus has become known can be found in spades on Use Your Delusion, though the insanity is somewhat more controlled than in early Man Man albums. Kattner’s vocals are more restrained, singing more often than howling. The song structures are more streamlined, though still inventive. It is an album more accessible than any of Man Man’s releases, though the quirks and experimentation are still firmly in place.

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One thought on “Honus Honus Keeps Piano Rock Inventive On Solo Debut ‘Use Your Delusion’

  1. lynne Reply

    love man man but what I’ve heard so far is like finding a brilliant record from the 80s that i should have known all ma life

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