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Statue Man

San Jose-spawned Statue Man's self-released Welcome to the Next Level was a welcome relief from the monochromatic soundscapes of punk as we knew it. The music was loud and fast at times, but the unit also knew a thing or two about melody. El Guapo was even spunkier. The newest offering is a sizzling five-pack EP of leap-frogging pop, leavened with doses of rock and ska. "Just My Luck" is a slap-happy number replete with churning guitars, chirpy vocals and wham-bam drumming. "Eavesdropper" continues the unit's upbeat, ska-flavored tilt. "Mean Sheets (Same for You)" roils with cranky guitar and keening, melodic vocals; "Ichiban Tomadachi" features an implacable beat and staccato hand claps. (Nicky Baxter)

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ManMade God
ManMade God

Years ago, vocalist Mike Green sang with another local band under a different name. Not to blow his cover, but Green has a distinctive voice with a tangible, yet otherworldly, quality of forceful emotion. The band's sound is technically hard-core, but there's an underlying tribal current with chants so distorted it's as if Green's speaking in tongues. The deep bass grooves provided by Matt are another key element. "Crazy People," "Rip Me Out" and "Flesh Binds" stand out on this debut album. The group recently performed with dark metal lord King Diamond and the hard-core/rap band Insolence. ManMade God isn't for everyone, but being difficult to classify is actually a plus. (Sarah Quelland)

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Pizzicato Five
Remix Album: Happy End of You

On Happy End of You, several of the world's best electronic artists--808 State, Dimitri From Paris, Gusgus--have taken one of Pizzicato Five's best albums, Happy End of the World, and mutilated it into a generic, repetitive mess. Happy End of the World veered from euphoric house to slinky lounge to kitschy disco extravagance, but Happy End of You keeps largely to mid-tempo droning. With two versions of most tracks done by two different artists, the album could have been an interesting exercise in techno reinterpretation. Sad, then, that both DJ Dara and Gusgus do such similar things with "Porno 3003." On Happy End of the World, that song had a dissolute, French-boudoir feeling, but here it's just so much bloodless noise. The only highlight is Oval's remarkable mix of "Happy Ending," in which layers of melodic fuzz lend a melancholy bite to the song's original campy sweetness. (Michelle Goldberg)

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From the May 28-June 3, 1998 issue of Metro.

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