Muscles – Manhood

It has been a long five years since Melbourne’s self-producing electro-wiz Muscles released his debut LP Guns Babes Lemonade onto the airwaves and in that time, he has enjoyed commercial success fairly unanimously, especially for the hit tracks Ice Cream, Sweaty and Hey Muscles, I Love You. Whilst this almost instant success certainly had its benefits in establishing his music to the world, there was certainly an overriding sense of anticipation over a follow up to the popular debut.

Muscles gave us a taste of what to come with the Younger & Immature EP in 2010, which had a poor reception from fans and critics alike, but five years is certainly a long time between drinks for an establishing musician, and without a doubt, momentum would’ve been lost with such a delay for quality material. So with nearly five years to prepare a new LP has Muscles revived the party status that he once held?

To answer that question simply: No. Manhood is an apparent concept album exploring the ideas of growing up and the stages of life that a man passes through. Ultimately the concept can only be as strong as the music presents it as, and that’s perhaps the more disappointing part. There are no new party anthems on Manhood; no real contender for the likes of Ice Cream or Sweaty. Perhaps the best attempt at a club hit is the track Ready For A Fight, which sports the repetitive “Yeah, Uh-Huh, Uh-Huh, Yeah” ‘hook’. As with most of Muscles’ tracks, his vocals aren’t exactly pleasing to listen to, but its more the instrumentation which is the worth the listen. There are some quality melodies and samples that are presented throughout Manhood, but overall, the tracks are either a little boring, or a tad irritating (see Girl Crazy Go for exhibit A).

It may sound a tad harsh to completely write off the album, however Electronic Dance Music is best served with precision and attention to detail and Manhood is just sloppy with its mastering. Hopefully Muscles’ live show in the new stage get-up he has going, will present the tracks in a better light.