clifton lee mann
om    (pleather records)
If there's a bad band in Chapel Hill, you wouldn't
know it from the albums coming out of there.  On
his debut (possibly the best first album I've heard
all year), Mann delivers a crunchy, garage attack
that reminds me of what I loved about The Dead
Boys.  Raw and basic, dragging through the
streets as opposed to classic Cal-punk's
serrated buzzsaw attack, Mann brings the
drunken rawk that resurrects memories of the
earliest forefathers, The Blue Magoos, Count Five,
and, of course, The Stooges.  More than a retro
act, it's the spirit that lives in his guitar playing.  
(The New Bomb Turks revisited it on
Destroy Oh
.)  Mann has a clear voice that allows him to
sing without getting bogged down in the mix, and
he knows how to throw in a hook without feeling
the need to make it the focus of the song.  It's
hard to describe, but there's an inestimable
feeling when someone plays something true-like
the Replacements tearing through a song.  Mann
brings that kind of smile to my face.  It ain't
Let It
or Wire's 154, but it's enough to remind me
why rock "n" roll will never die.  Mann's pedigree
includes unsung Raleigh punkers BAD CHECKS
and axe work for PIPE.  Greater than the sum of
its parts, this album introduces a musician (he
played everything but the drums) with his heart in
the right place.
                        -Chris Parker/THE BIG TAKEOVER
Clifton Lee Mann
Clifton is full of short, ferocious punk numbers
containing crackup-funny and ironic lyrics which
skewer familiar experiences.  He also manages to
stick a bit of melodic songcraft in the right places.  
It's all well done, straight to the point, and without
any pretention.  Soundwise, the combination of
heavy garage sound with the good, fun power trio
groove is, for lack of any other way to put it, whole.  
A happy yin joining up with a loud yang.  
Whatever.  To accomplish this, Clifton played all of
the bass and guitar with a busy and boomy but
sympathetic drummer.  It's obvious that he knows
exactly what to do with both of his instruments and
he never overplays of misses a beat.  His vocals may
have their limits, but he pretty much succeeds
there too by keeping it simple and concentrating
on getting the lyrics across.
If he's as much fun live as on the silver platter, I'd
kinda like to see him.
                       -Tim Mashburn, INK 19
This is a more powerful than average power-pop
release.  Well written mid tempo rock songs with
grungy hooks and spoken/sung lyrics.  A bit
PAVEMENT like.  Good stuff.
                          -MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL