Still featuring Josh and Martin Ace upfront, Man show that they’ve lost little of their aplomb over the years, interweaving close harmonies, psychedelia, country and heavy rock with a lightness of touch rare among old campaigners.
They’re graced by the presence of guest BJ Cole, whose pedal steel guitar courses like glittering water through three tracks, including opener The Ballad Of Billy Lee. Keyboardist Phil Ryan’s contributions take a spacier turn, particularly on the scampering In Time, in which a keyboard squiggle hoves in from outer space before the song orbits through its verses proper.
Other highlights include God Delusion, evidently a reference to the Richard Dawkins book of the same name, in which Josh Ace reflects wistfully on the inexplicable injustices of the universe. Martin Ace’s All The Birds ends the album on a more plodding yet upbeat and romantic note.
Man aren’t likely to be tearing up trees commercially in 2015, but this is still a rewarding listen for those with fond memories of South Wales’s finest./o:p