Mannequin Men, 'Lose Your Illusion, Too' (Flameshovel)

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by Steve Kandell

For any scrappy garage-punk band, there's no better yardstick to judge yourself against than Guns N' Roses -- they've been the embodiment of bloat for so long that even the Red Hot Chili Peppers took a shot at them on Mother's Milk. But at the risk of belaboring the album title's pun, this Chicago quartet's third album is all about self-flagellation and lowered expectations. Singer Kevin Richard has the Westerberg rap -- and rasp -- down cold ("Kinda Babes" = "Unsatisfied"), and the rousing Pagans cover "(Us and) All Our Friends Are So Messed Up" is inspired music to spill Schlitz to.

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