REVIEW: Three Man Cannon – ‘Pretty Many People’

three man cannon feature

Artist: Three Man Cannon
Album: Pretty Many People
Label: Lame-O Records

Philadelphia is the place to be these days for emo, punk, and everything in between. The city is home to a number of excellent and diverse artists like The Menzingers, Modern Baseball, and Tigers Jaw, to name a few. Another name to add to that list is Three Man Cannon. The quartet, which happens to feature former Tigers Jaw members Dennis Mishko and Pat Brier, have taken elements from many fellow Philadelphia bands and molded them into Pretty Many People, a dreamy but driving record that is perfect for rainy days and muggy summer nights.

On past releases, such as their 2013 split with Lee Corey Oswald, Three Man Cannon displayed some folk punk tendencies, but those are almost entirely gone on Pretty Many People. In their place are the soft, intertwined guitar melodies of “Simple,” the subtle atmosphere of “Something I Found,” and the drawn out post-punk of “Bleed.” The overall tone of the album is gloomy, but there is always some sunlight peeking around the clouds in the form of bright vocal melodies reminiscent of A Great Big Pile of Leaves and Prawn’s recent work.

Even when the vocal melodies sound upbeat, the lyrics are more than morose enough for emo. Throughout the course of Pretty Many People, you’ll find yourself singing along to bummer sentiments like, “Have you ever wished that you could cease to exist?” (“Bed”) and “I remember where I was when you said to me, ‘I don’t want to watch you die, I just want to see you bleed. That’s all’” (“Bleed”). At certain times, however, the lyrics get lost in a wash of atmospheric guitar noise. The closing track is the most glaring example of this, and the album does suffer a bit for it.

It’s not much of a surprise that Pretty Many People is the product of two ex-members of Tigers Jaw. The two groups find common ground in fuzzy guitars and melancholy moods, but Three Man Cannon push even further into indie and shoegaze territory on the minimalistic “Side By Side” and the haunting and hypnotic pairing of “DKDDK” and “Baby.” While it will never have the wide appeal of a typical emo-punk crossover, it makes for a much more interesting and satisfying listen.

SCORE: 8.5/10
Review written by Troy Sennett (follow him on Twitter)

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