The Phenomenauts 

For All Mankind

The Phenomenauts come roaring out of the gate at warp speed on their third album with thirteen inspired blasts of sugar-coated adrenaline guaranteed to slap a sappy smile on your face. "Man Alone" is a rousing call to action with a hint of Ramones in the backing vocals, "Heroes" uses a catchy Moog line to salute those who risk their lives to further the cause of space exploration, while "Science and Honor" could be the band's theme song, a salute to rational thinking and service to all mankind, to paraphrase the album's title. There are also a couple of love songs, more or less. "Cyborg" is the sad tale of a guy who builds the perfect woman, only to find she's not interested in him. "Don't Overheat on Me" urges restraint in romantic matters, but the band delivers the message with the same blazing energy that marks every track on the album.

If you only look at their gear — Star Trek-meets-Devo space outfits, odd retro/futuristic eyewear, toilet paper guns — you might dismiss the Phenomenauts as a joke, but behind the image there's a serious message about brotherhood, ecology, peace, community cooperation, and, yes, science and honor. Their fusion of rockabilly, psychedelic garage noise, aggressive new wave dance, pop, and punk may sound a bit retro, but it's delivered with fierce energy, infuriatingly catchy tunes, and an uplifting message. Their utopian vision of a better future provides a bracing antidote to the elixir of gloom flowing out of the nightly news. (Silver Sprocket)


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