Conflict Of Interest (formerly Do It) opens the album and whilst obviously the same songs as was premiered on Star Club, it has developed from a very good songs to an outstanding one. The funky riff is led by Phil on keyboards rather than the guitars, and it's got a groove to die for. This represents Man playing as an ensemble at their best, and it contains the first of a number of outstanding guitar solos as well. Popemobile follows, and whilst I think this will be a long standing item in the live set, I'm not sure it works so well on the album particularly with some of the company it is living with. Another corking guitar solo is inlcuded here - the Jones boy is on top form throughout the album. Micky takes the vocals on Saints And Sinners which is one of three tracks which are fairly atypical of Man. The chorus is harmony heavy and the underlying feel is light latino - I love it although it's the type of track that will doubtless split opinion. Face to Face which follows has Deke singing and it a real slow burner - the lyrics abd delivery are dark and brooding and the song proceeds at a sombre pace. "All that glittering gold melts when you sell your soul" - obviously directed at you, EW! . An excellent extended keyboard/guitar solo in the middle. Interestingly, not a song favoured by all the band if the comment in the last TWC is anything to go by. The next two tracks are the others that are atypical of what we would recognise as Man. Hanging On is very upbeat and driven by Martin and Bob punctuated by Phil's keyboard. Also lifts a line straight from Dream Away - but, as Deke says, if you're gonna steal you may as well steal from the best (of which, more later). Also, yet another fine guitar solo. The only comparison I can make is with Go West (!) but's it's a grand track and lifts the mood wonderfully after Face To Face's more measured pace. Said mood is brought back down again by Tie Up The Wind which is, for comparision's sake, this albums Rainbow Eyes.......except that it takes said song, eats it up, chews it over, spits it out and any other such references you may care to make. This was the song that had Micky playing accoustic and is breathtakingly beautiful. It's not typical Man fare, but stick with it - it'll be worth the effort. Micky's singing is simply outstanding (as it is on his other two vocal performaces) and the song has a wonderful Beach Boys-y (or, more accurately, Brian Wilson'y) section in the middle. This could get played on Radio 2 quite easily, and that is not meant in any way disparagingly. The previously mentioned Victim of Love follows and it fits in better because of the contrast with Tie Up With The Wind but is still the weakest song on the album. The whole feel is a bit lumbering, and comes over as too much of an "ordinary" song for my liking. Mind you, there's any number of bands out there who'd love to be able to come up with something as good as ordinary. The closing number is Love Isn't Love which is uptempo although introduced by a keyboard/guitar moody intro. This is destined to be a stage favourite for some time to come I would reckon, and bounce along very merrily for a song which appears to be about the (weary) acceptance of what life has to serve up. The Brian Wilson influence appears at the end with a wonderful code taken straight from Good Vibrations on which the song fades out - a wonderful moment for a Brian Wilson fan like myself and a completion of the circle from the harmony days of the Bystanders. This is, all in all, an excellent album and one that will grab my attention for some time to come. There always seems to be an element of debate about Phil's involvement (cf. the discussion about TWC) but I think the balance on Endangered Species is right on the button. The playing and singing is uniformly excellent but I think pride of place has to go to Micky. His singing and solo'ing are truly exceptional, and this album has done well to capture the live feel of his solos which previous albums have not always done. Out of ten points, I'll give it nine - but that's only so the guys feel they've still got something to aim for.
Discounting a few CD reissues and live recordings, this is the first Man release for some half a decade. It was eagerly awaited by the band's fans. The opening track "Conflict of Interest" gives notice that this is not just a further dose of traditional Man music. It sounds more like Patrick Moraz or Vangelis than Man. The song evolved back towards more familiar style but still with a new slant. This theme is maintained throughout the rest of the CD. While the music is recognisably Man, there are new sounds and styles to prevent things from getting stale. My personal favourite is "Face to Face" it has everything that makes up the best of Man songs. Great music, surreal lyrics and a setting that gives plenty of scope for extended improvisation when performed live. I must also mention the sleeve notes. As usual, when Deke Leonard is on form, these are almost worth the price of the CD by themselves. Commenting on the latest of the band's line up changes he notes that "Drummers are rather like underpants. - you have to change them regularly." If you are new to Man, I'd not recommend this CD as an introduction. Their classic "Be Good to Yourself at Least Once a Day" is really the best way to get to know them but if you have, and appreciate some of their earlier work you will be very pleased with this demonstration that old Welsh rockers don't die, they just keep on producing great music.
Hardy perennial West Coast influenced Welsh rockers Man return to life after a 5 year hiatus with a slow burner of an album. Their previous offering, 'Call Down The Moon' was arguably a more immediate sounding affair containing instantly digestable riffs and twin lead guitar harmonic lines throughout. This time around Man have paid due deference to their 1976 opus 'The Welsh Connection' combining a more laid back flavour with the vocals more prominent throughout. The opening funky feel of 'Conflict Of Interest', (formally entitled Do It), and the salsa rhythms of 'Saints And Sinners' are the exception rather than the norm of this fine record. The alternating vocal talents of Messrs Jones, Ace and Leonard lend themselves in varying degrees of success depending on one's personal choice. This is symptomatic of all Man albums and can sometimes produce less than even results that may have ultimately been a thorn to their endeavours to reach a bigger audience. Whilst Micky Jones continues to soar to new heights of guitar excellence complemented by 'new boy' drummer Bob Richards , Martin Ace and Deke Leonard seem to be going through the motions with little inventiveness that has so characterised their previous work. Criticisms aside however Man once again provide the listener with a valid demonstration of their ability to juxtapose long instrumental passages with tight vocal harmonics epitomised on such tracks as 'Face To Face' and 'Hangin' On'. The album loses a star however as the rather unfinished feel of the last track, 'Love Isn't Love' detracts from the more polished feel of the rest of Endangered Species. Surprisingly a highliht comes in the form of a beautiful ballad, 'Tie Up The Wind' with Micky Jones displaying probably his most emotional vocal contribution to the Man catalogue. Endangered Species is a strong contributor to the musical works in the history of Man and exemplifies the stubborness of thes guys to contines in the face of continued U.K. apathy. Endangered...? maybe...but musical treasures they are!!!
This is the last of the studio Man albums that has Micky Jones on it, thus making it the last of the Man band albums IMO. As this topic is much discussed on [...] let me say that it is very good. The playing is tight and a genuinely new sound had emerged. This is Man for the 2000's, not a tired rehash of 70's grandeur. Never a band of great vocalists, both Deke and Mickey sing within their range and ability and this works well. Stand out songs for me are Conflict of Interest(also known live as "Do it") Face to Face and Saints and sinners. Even the trite words of Stuck behind the Popemobile are worth overlooking for the sizzling guitar work. I really do rate this album as being very consistant and very good.