Monday, April 29, 2013

The Sarcastic Mannequins: Little Brother (1991)

Vancouver's nineties jazz-punks The Sarcastic Mannequins could be a lot of different things at any given moment. If I needed to name-drop to get you, the listener, to give this album a shot, I'd mention Camper Van Beethoven, NoMeansNo, Dick Dale, The Minutemen, Frank Zappa, The Pixies, 3 Mustaphas 3 and Sandinista-era Clash, who they pay homage to on their reloaded version of Sandanista’s “Charlie Don’t Surf”:

As the above list of musical references indicates, they weren’t three-chord bashers, which breaks one of the promises of MRML's mission statement. They’d like that. The band (Beez on bass/vocals, Bradford Lambert on drums Andrew Shyman on guitar/vocals) used to hand out lyric sheets before their shows just to make sure that even the inattentive could be offended by their words.  


Despite their deliberately nonlinear forays into ragas, ska, spy, and tricky, jazzy instrumental sections, the Mannequins manged to get some radio play on the CBC for their c-c-catchy swipe at classic rock radio, "The 6-6-60's are Over":

My encounter with the  Sarcastic Mannequins occurred when they played a tight, blistering set on a Tuesday in October of 1989 at the University of Manitoba’s bar. The assembled crowd wasn’t - so we all hung out backstage and they peppered us with quotes for my review for the University's paper. 

Yeah, I dropped the name of the Bad Brains and my band (see HERE, yeesh) into the review. Shameless. The band members kept in touch for a while and Beez was always friendly – even when I hinted that they should’ve tacked the demo onto the CD.  He went on to man the bass for the most-excellent Smugglers and then the lovely Beauticians.

This album will not be everyone’s cup of meat (what here is?) but  those who get it will return to it repeatedly for the many odd, quirky, cool moments like their hymn to our nation's most renowned literary export, "Margaret Atwood", which Narduar the Human Serviette brought to the attention of "The Queen of Canadian Culture" HERE 

Like their demo, this 1991 album, Little Brother, was was a disconcerting yet fun jazz-punk fusion and though it may have came a bit too late in their career, it did still capture much of what was best about the band.

1) If You have any thoughts or reactions to this oddball trio, please advise us in the COMMENTS section, where you can go to hear Little Brother.

2) If you yourself, or anyone you know, has access to the SM's demo tape, Eye Swallow,  PLEASE ADVISE me! 


  1. If you enjoy the music, or even if you just gave it a quick chance, let us know RIGHT HERE!

  2. hey jeff,
    thank you so much for re-upping this master work. can't wait to throw this sucker on real loud.

    chris freezing

  3. that picture has scared me....

  4. Got SM's "Eye Swallow" cassette here in front o me..
    Got the cow's eye in a jar ..from the same concert on E.Hastings, wayy back when..


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