Man Made Sea’s Super Saver EP

“There’s some clear band chemistry driving Super Saver as a solid first recording effort.” -Hannah Cook

Hannah Cook

out of 10

Man Made Sea
Super Saver EP
August 27, 2011

Man Made Sea’s first EP, Super Saver, has friendship written all over it. This makes sense, though, considering the band has been playing music for over five years in LaGarange, Georgia. Though it’s been a journey of change getting to the stable point of Man Made Sea in their musical careers, there’s some clear band chemistry driving Super Saver as a solid first recording effort.

The EP falls into a lot of musical genres, but there lies an underlying consistency–something of angst and simplicity, reminiscent of my early years of rock ‘n’ roll adoration. This doesn’t mean the album is a novice feat—they’ve done the whole thing right and they’ve added a sparkle that’s clearly all their own.

“Devil” opens the short album with downright rockabilly magic. A snarky guitar and lyrics twice as such begin the song.—“We’re all gonna die like Jesus Christ,” vocalist Josh Parsons harshly croons. The final word marks the spontaneous explosion into a golden rock ‘n’ roll riot.

Along the same lines is “Super Saver.” Parsons’s rugged voice and guitar strums with slightly less ‘tude than the former song lead into an expected change of turbulence. This song screams indie rock in its earlier, more weathered years—think Dinasaur Jr. meets Nirvana.

If Eels and Sonic Youth started a family, the song “Hammer” would be in that family tree somewhere. It’s the least rambunctious song on the EP; that is until about two minutes in when the whole band breaks into a shout-along. “No more drinking in the streets,” they yell, followed by a generic, but still golden guitar solo. The song ends in another full-band sing along—oh, sweet friendship.

“Heart of Grizzly” is rough, pure and simple. The distortion on the guitar is turned up, Parsons’s voice is angry. The most pleasant surprise is when a quickly plucked banjo joins in and, oddly, works so well with a harsh guitar. Some sort of odd mix of hard and soft, the combination is intriguing.

The album takes a turn for the tender with the final song, “Holmes Sweet Holmes.” This could very well be the first time I’ve heard acoustic guitar on this album, at least as its main instrumentation, but Man Made Sea can do any genre like gentlemen. The song is sad, but sweet, something of a western ballad of a lonesome man. As the song plays on, one by one, a different instrument joins in. First, a wallowing sliding guitar, then a piano, then a silvery harmonizing voice. Call me a softie, but this was the album’s pinnacle.

Man Made Sea certainly has something going for it. They take indie rock of the yesteryear and create something fresh and nostalgic, like we can live in the past a little, the best and simplest years of our lives.