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Mannequin Men, ‘Fresh Rot’ (Flameshovel)

Every note on Fresh Rot could carry a footnote identifying its source — Television being a major inspiration. As churning guitars generate jagged melodies, singer Kevin Richard plays the sleazy punk poet, hiding his sensitive side behind a sneering facade. Shameless recycling doesn’t keep the Chicago quartet’s second album from being great fun, however. Describing the shady practices of bad boys and girls, “Private School” and “Mattress” are smart, catchy, albeit tattered, pop tunes. And when Richard chants, “We are free,” it’s easy to share in his wild-eyed euphoria.

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