Man with the Action Hair

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While musically adventurous, the second release from Cement on the Dutch East India label, The Man with the Action Hair, is not as raucous as the band's debut, nor is it generally equal to Chuck Mosley's earlier, better known work. Former Faith No More frontman Mosley does shake things up vocally as he peppers the band's quirky, vaguely funky hard rock with plenty of his trademark grunts and bellows. Guitarist Sean Maytum, bassist Senon Williams, and drummer Doug Duffy join Mosley as he trips through Cement's all-over-the-place rock, giving mostly adequate performances. Together, the men of Cement combine elements of Mosley's prior outfits Faith No More, Bad Brains, and Haircuts That Kill with sometimes strange, sometimes heavy grooves à la Ween, Suicidal Tendencies, and Clutch. More live experiment than song-driven regulation-rock, The Man with the Action Hair should please listeners searching for a record that achieves a distinct heaviness without any clichéd hard rock posturing. Cement never put up the typical tough, sexy, drug-addicted front, they just seem happy to explore the immediate expressionism that the rock form offers. Angular and without much fluidity, this 1994 release makes for bad background music or singalong accompaniment. The songwriting almost comes across as amateur at times, and Maytum's constant wah-wah guitarisms are way, way too much of a (not so) good thing. Hopefully, the deeply earnest tracks like "Sleep" and "Crying" are supposed to be ironic takes on bad rock balladry, but if Mosley was indeed sincere while penning these clunkers, they certainly mark a creative low for the band. Despite the abrasiveness and some bad comedic timing, tracks like the freaky "Dancing from the Depths of the Fire" and the well riffed "Bonnie Brea" forge the cosmic Zappa-to-Zeppelin connection that makes The Man with the Action Hair an outlandish hoot.

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