Mr. Airplane Man

Moanin'

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Moanin' is a bold step forward for Mr. Airplane Man. The duo's previous release, Red Lite, was a rough collection of appealing originals spiked by some well-chosen punk and blues covers, but it was marred, to some extent, by fuzzy sound -- like watching a four-star movie on a two-star TV. Fortunately, the production on their Detroit-recorded third effort is cleaner and brighter, and singer/guitarist Margaret Garrett's strong vocals pack a lot more punch. There's also more of a girl group sound to the poppier numbers, somewhat reminiscent of the Shangri-Las or Thee Headcoatees. Overall, Garrett and drummer Tara McManus' grasp of melody and songcraft is more evident than before. Although the name Mr. Airplane Man came from a song by Howlin' Wolf, don't be fooled -- these Bostonians aren't just blues aficionados with good taste, great record collections, and cool friends (like Monsieur Jeffrey Evans and Greg "Oblivian" Cartwright, who handled production duties), but capable and confident musicians in their own right. With the soulful, bluesy slink of Moanin', they join the proud local garage rock tradition spearheaded by DMZ in the 1970s and the Lyres in the 1980s.

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