The Sarcastic Mannequins were obscure, Canadian, Clash-loving punks but since they weren’t three chord bashers they do break one of the promises of my mission statement. They’d like that. They used to hand out lyric sheets before their shows just to make sure that even the inattentive could be offended by their words. As well the (remaining) dogmatic punk punters were probably enraged by their forays into ragas, ska, spy, and tricky, jazzy instrumental sections. Never wanky (and usually catchy) the Mannequins would have been a good opener for NoMeansNo but with less “Kill Everyone Now” and more “Everything Pisses Me Off”.
The Sarcastic Mannequins (Beez on bass/vocals, Bradford Lambert on drums Andrew Shyman on guitar/vocals) played a tight, blistering set on a Tuesday in October of 1989 at the U of M’s pub. The assembled crowd wasn’t - so they let us hang out backstage and showered me with quotes (I was reviewing the show for the university paper). Their demo tape (still their peak) was a disconcerting yet fun jazz-punk fusion and though this album came a bit too late in their career (less propulsive) it too gave CBC Radio’s late night bizzarro programs more wild content in the dullest era of modern musical history.
Yeah, I dropped the name of the Bad Brains and my band (see ch 14) into the review. Shamless. The band members kept in touch for while and Beez was always friendly – even when I hinted that they should’ve tacked the demo onto the CD. He went on man the bass for the most-excellent Smugglers and plays in a band called the Beauticians.
This album will not be everyone’s cup of meat (hey what here is?) but to those who get it – you’ll return to it for those WTF moments spread throughout the album and if you just download for a quick look-hear don’t stop till you hit their reloaded version of Sandanista’s “Charlie Don’t Surf”.