Saturday, June 4, 2022

Man Sized Action - Five Story Garage (1984, Reflex/Garage D'or) - 30th anniversary edition.

I apologize again for getting delayed in the mountain of dead links I need to restore. Secondly, I haven't been giving you a ton of new content either, but for the time being here's one that's fairly substantial. Though they're rarely mentioned in the same breath as '80s Minneapolis luminaries Husker Du and the Replacements, Man Sized Action had a sizable presence in the Twin Cities indie/punk circuit. Inspired to start a band in part by witnessing enough Husker shows firsthand in the earliest part of the decade, and later winding up on the band's in-house label, Reflex (not to mention having their debut, 1983's Claustrophobia produced by Bob Mould) MSA bore more of a post-punk adherence than hardcore. Never quite subscribing to Husker's noise-pop aesthetic (and certainly doing a 180 from the Replacements topical buffet) the band instead opted for something more subtly melodic, but equally engulfing. 

I'm not sure how much of conscious effort it was on their part, but on Five Story Garage MSA seemed to be taking it's cues from what contemporaries Middle Class and Rifle Sport were angling for. Shades of clangy, echoing guitar sync up perfectly with frontman Pat Wood's rapid-fire spoke/sung prose - a sonic tangent that was approached on the band's first album, but far more thoroughly perfected on FSG. And the whole thing (eight songs) is over within the space of about twenty minutes, but this doesn't feel like you're typical hardcore soiree. There's bona-fide depth here not to mention development in terms of the band's overarching acumen - and sadly this record and MSA in general were predominantly a local phenomenon, one not name-checked alongside the Husker Du's of the world, but for that matter the Mission of Burma's either.

In 2014, Garage D'or Records, a label helmed by the late Terry Katzman (the man who also incidentally produced Five Story...) decided to give the album a second breath of life via a CD reissue, appending practically another album's worth of even newer MSA songs, recorded live in 1986, giving the listener a general idea of what a third hypothetical LP by this five-piece might have amounted to. The whole thing is yours for the downloading below.

01. On the Phone
02. Can't Get Enough
03. Units
04. Start All Over Again
05. Replica
06. Couch Potato
07. Fifty Seven
08. Different Than Now

Live 1986 @ Uptown Bar, Minneapolis
09. Arsenal
10. Better Days
11. Lunch Box
12. Conditoin of Mind
13. The Girl Song
14. Double Negative
15. History
16. Won't Last Forever


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