Man Without Country

Lost Balloon/Cooperative Music, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The inception of Man Without Country – a duo comprised by Thomas Greenhalf and Ryan James – was born out of the realization that, well, they just didn't belong. The pair took it upon themselves to parlay that sense of being unfit into a creative brand of dark, atmospheric and brooding music. Foe is their debut album, and it's a listen you won't soon forget. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Taking nods from influences like My Bloody Valentine, Man Without Country work well with layered guitars and vocal effects here, often birthing moody yet intriguing textures. They don't seem to have any reservations about releasing very forward lyrics, often showing contempt for others and occasionally delving into intimate introspection.

Surprisingly, what you might have gathered thus far, the music here is quite upbeat and danceable. Tracks like “Puppets” and “King Complex” sound straight from the dance floor in the '80s. The title track “Foe” utilizes a modulated voice against vintage synth, creating a haunting tone. “Parity” is a song of pure emotion, taking a white noise synth loop and complementing with a Brian Eno slant. “Migrating Clay Pigeon” is the darkest track here, a percussive and synth chord heavy experience that is nothing short of chilling.

A very carefully calculated listen, Foe shows Man Without Country doing an impressive job of matching atmospheric dream pop that can go to very cold, spiteful places. There is so much going on in each song, from samples to endless layering to clever looping, yet it still manages to collide into a cohesive and melodic listen.

It's been my experience that when a band references Kurt Vonnegut (in this case, it's his essay “A Man Without A Country”), it usually translates into a highly unique and creative endeavor and this is no different. This is great starting point and a sign of even better things in the future for these two musicians.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Lost Balloon/Cooperative Music, and is used for informational purposes only.