The Manikins Bad Times LP
Mostly due to their tour de force album Crocodiles, this Swedish band stood out from their peers in the mid-2000s stripped-down power-garage-pop period—thinking bands like TRANZMITORS, the SHOCKS, and the HEX DISPENSERS who were reinterpreting the BUZZCOCKS for a post-Bush world. Crocodiles came out in 2008 and I thought the band had hung it up. Over a decade later they are back with a batch of new songs, but had the supporting tour sidelined by the pandemic. The album lacks the production earnestness of Crocodiles, but despite cleaning it up, there is an angsty darkness throughout the album captured best in the tracks “It’s Not Gonna Be OK” and “Worse Than I”. The songwriting and change-ups have allowed the band to expand their sound and even style a bit. The standout track is the mid-tempo “Make a Run for It”. An excellent album that manages not to rehash or revisit a long-gone time but moves forward in a newly defined way.