Colour. Flash. Brash sections. Dance routines. Near nudity.
Man Like Me are lauded near and far for their live show - quite rightly, too. It's bonkers. A mish-mash of colour, eccentricity and humour Johnny Langer and Peter Duffy manage to keep the audience guessing whilst clearly having the time of their lives.
Releasing their self-titled debut album in 2009, the LP came at a time when the duo were still finding their feet in the studio. Since then, Man Like Me have matured somewhat - travelling the world, they've been able to take on new influences and explore new ways of making music.
Of course, bumping into Mike Skinner has also helped. The one time Streets guru stumbled across the group, and was so enamoured with Man Like Me that he immediately insisted on helping them with their second album.
A mature head in the studio, the Brum street poet was able to coax new performances out of the duo. The results are gathered on 'Pillow Talk'. By turns wry and deadly serious, whimsical and quite moving it's a hugely colourful, highly entertaining onslaught of ideas.
Out today (March 4th) ClashMusic are able to present a track by track guide written by Johnny Langer and Peter Duffy themselves.
Listen to 'Pillow Talk' on Spotify - then read the thoughts of Man Like Me below.
- - -
We had recently struck up a friendship with a bit of musical hero in our eyes, Tom Vek. So this was a song that was almost written for him. If you hear Johnny's vocal delivery you can hear the Vek influence we'd got from his last album, especially from the song 'A Chore'. The subject matter came from being on the top deck of bus looking through the windows of businesses in the west end and thinking on the plight of an office worker in the big city.
We'd been listening to a compilation called from Soundway on Ghanian music from 70's and were marvelling at the sounds they got back then. We sampled this brass line from one of the tracks and started from there. The song is pretty self explanatory, stemming from feeling part of a young generation but noticing how much times are changing. This track was a real beast to finish and mix, there's so much going on in there. But we didn't want to lose the african big band sound so we kept it all in and compressed the fuck out of it.
Got a bit of a confession to make here. This track also began by sampling a record off that same Ghanian compilation (there are so many gems on there!) but when we applied for sample clearance Soundway gave us the silent treatment. So we got our pal John Fortis to replace it with an arguably better bassline. The song is a bit of an enigma in that you can fill in the blanks ("eeeeh") with whatever you want… But you know what its about really!
This is Pete's singing debut. We'd been playing a lot of festivals in the summer 2011 and it started out as an ode to all carry on that goes with them. But it started to sound pretty cheesy and in the spirit of the London riots we decided to switch it up. The chorus stayed the same though.
Bit of a tricky one this. A friend of our's daughter had been groomed through Facebook, and this song was looking at that really. Our manager advised us to change the subject matter completely, and dear old John Fortis ran a mile when we asked for his input. But Mike Skinner stepped up to the mantle and we're both pretty proud of it. Sorry if it makes you feel uncomfortable!
Oh Mother Where Art Thou
Another song about getting older. This is about the fear of failure in adult life, something that hits you HARD in your late twenties. Listen to it though, its not as gloomy as it sounds!
This began as a song written by Dogs Die In Hot Cars and was a demo for their 2nd album which never got made. Johnny's dad had a copy and we reworked it into MAN LIKE ME song. It was also called Squeeze, so for clarity's sake we renamed it Sleaze, which it turned it something a bit sleazy funnily enough.
A song about a relationship with a slightly bigger age gap than your used to, only to find that she surprises you with a knowledge on the finer things in life, such as Fleetwood Mac.
This had been knocking around for a while but it seemed a shame not to put it on the album. It was inspired by Pete's brother Roger (bit of cad) finding a message addressed to him in the Lovestruck section they used to have in the London Paper (R.I.P). It features vocals by our long lost backing singer named Sue, who slipped into obscurity a couple of years back.
Love Me Tonight
Our attempt at a slow jam. This about sprucing up your love life with your long term partner, and encouraging that excitement you both felt when you first met. Roll up your carpet and have a little dance like you used to, for god sake. Heaven help us both.
London Town V.I.P
The story of a washed MC that had his heyday in garage era. But as soon as Grime came in, he ended up a Butlin's doing 'old skool' nights. This was on our debut album as well, but we were advised to include it on Pillow Talk too. So we gave it a bit of a rework with Mike Skinner and our man Ade Omotayo, who we should have mentioned sings on most of the tracks on the album.
After a stint in the late nineties as the only caucasian male working as waiter in Chinatown, this was Johnny reminiscing on his time spent serving snapper, in batter, with a prawn cracker. (Parts of this story may be inaccurate).
- - -
'Pillow Talk' is out now.