The Welsh rock band Man, whose style is a mixture of West Coast psychedelia, progressive rock, blues and pub rock, had great success in the 60s and 70s. Strangely enough they are still active in the scene after a couple of break ups, reunions and several line up changes. Nowadays bassist Martin Ace and keyboardist Phil Ryan are the only two members from the early seventies on board. In the current line-up they are complemented by Martin Ace's son Josh Ace on guitar and vocals and the young guitarist James Beck. These two also make music with Martin Ace's side project Omigosh. Since 2011, Man have been based in Germany, where they still perform occasionally. This is also the country from which their drummer Rene Robrahn comes from.
The band's first album Revelation was released in 1969. Their 16th studio release Reanimated Memories saw the light of day in February of 2015. It was recorded with the line up mentioned above. In the studio steel guitarist BJ Cole gave them a helping hand on The Ballad Of Billy Lee, We Know and One More Ride On The Waltzers. The booklet and art work of the album includes next to the lyrics and credits a lot of pictures taken at the recording sessions. On one of them, a wall of keyboards can be seen. When you see this picture before listening to the eleven tracks on this album, you might think they must have been used a lot. Therefore an album could be expected with a true progressive rock sound. Well that's not completely true. Phil certainly uses several keyboards on the entire album but it is mainly the guitars of Josh and James that are responsible for the largest part of the total sound the band provides. This way the songs move towards other styles next to influences taken from progressive rock. Does this mean the album is less enjoyable to listen to? Well I guess not. But you have to keep in mind that you have to have an open ear for other musical genres. For instance you hear a kind of country and western music on the opening tune The Ballad Of Billy Lee and We Know. The use of the pedal steel guitar is most of all to blame that the music moves towards this type of music. Also more mainstream compositions are notable. Good examples are No Solution and Events Of Yesterday. On one of the tracks I even thought I heard a song performed by Randy Newman. Namely Nothing Fails Like Success. The rest of the songs are more in the genre we write about on this website. On In Time, Ordinary Man, God Delusion and All The Birds, the music moves more in the direction of bands such as Pink Floyd and Camel. Furthermore we have a couple of tunes which could be compared with the music made by The Dire Straits. I am talking about the tracks One More Ride On The Waltzers and Got No Money In My Pocket. Finally I'll have to mention that occasionally the spirit of bands like Caravan and Wishbone Ash come to the surface as well. The absolute highlights for me on Reanimated Memories were the compositions In Time and Ordinary Man. The first one has a strong Dave Gilmour kind of guitar solo and the second one has an excellent Pete Bardens kind of keyboard solo. A big complement goes most of all to the guys who were responsible for the excellent sound on this album. All of the instruments sound refreshingly natural and audiophiles will enjoy every second of them.
Reanimated Memories will tempt most of all the average rock fan. As for most progressive rock fans, this album will have to be listened to more than once to appreciate it fully. If you are not afraid to hear music that goes beyond the frontiers of progressive rock as well you are in for a very fine release from a band that certainly knows how to entertain their audience, even if the many influences from Pink Floyd are hidden in some of the songs and others do come to the surface right away!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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