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10 Cloverfield Lane

On First Solo Album, 'Use Your Delusion,' Man Man's Honus Honus Does Just That

Music ReviewWeston PaganoComment

Until Use Your Delusion, Man Man and Mister Heavenly maverick Honus Honus’ debut solo release, there had never before been a record you could fund in part with the purchase of a $666 denim vest and a disposable camera full of images of faked deaths. But, then again, there has never before been an artist with quite the same bizarro charm as Honus, either.

Despite flying solo, Honus (née Ryan Kattner) is backed by quite the supporting cast: Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, The Shins, Cold War Kids, Mister Heavenly) pilots the percussion, King Cyrus King (Super Deluxe) contributes production and guitar, Dann Gallucci (Modest Mouse, The Murder City Devils, Cold War Kids) handles mixing, comedian Jon Daly is on sax, and even polymath Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Got a Girl, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 10 Cloverfield Lane) and Shannon Shaw (Shannon and the Clams) feature.

Still, it’s clear the self-released Use Your Delusion is a cathartic release of the chaotic menagerie stirring in its creator’s wildly whiskered head, loosened by the freedom of truly setting out on one’s own. It’s not easy to match the dynamic eclection of his Man Man discography, but Honus damn near tops it in half an hour. For example, the accessible pop of ”Heavy Jesus" leans more On Oni Pond, “Will You?”’s soothing piano is very Rabbit Habits, and the "sour milk and cocaine" death metal freak of ”Red Velvet" might feel most at home writhing on Six Demon Bag. But Honus explores brand new territory as well with the nearly David Gilmour-worthy guitar solo of “Santa Monica” and the surprise amusement of what can be likened to Eric Idle-esque pomp on album closer “Empty Bottle.”

Having moved his dystopian sound to the west coast, the “apocalyptic LA pop” vibe rings clearest through the surfy tones in the nimble guitar work most notably on single “Oh No!”. Set to lines like “Happiness is just an accident wearing different clothes,” it’s an artfully classic example of sad sentiments stuck in a sunny song. “Your heart is bubble-wrapped in permanent depression,” he coos too a deft touch of sax and an almost reggae pulse resulting in a deceptively delightful package. “Will You?” in turn matches its “Rabbit Habits” keys to the sunlit savagery of a suicide prolonged awaiting love with a paradoxical knowingness few could pull off with sincerity.

First single, “Heavy Jesus,” is similarly bouncy, but replaces the angst with heretic hilarity. They say God works in mysterious ways, but Jesus himself appearing to an unwilling heavy metal disciple via a late night quesadilla is certainly a new one. Use Your Delusion would lend itself well to a similar marketing campaign; It’s not hard to imagine midnight taco trucks blaring this album like an ice cream truck jingle gone rogue.

On “Midnight Caller” Honus claims, “I don’t see any point in honesty / ‘Cause honestly, it’s the worst / And honestly, honesty can take a long walk off a short pier,” with wordplay reminiscent of “Van Helsing Boombox.” Yet Use Your Delusion, nor any other song he’s ever sung, rings hollow or faked, even at his most maniacal. The word “carnivalesque” gets thrown around a lot when describing Honus’ repertoire, but endearingly that’s just what it often is. Honus howls, trapped in a house of mirrors that beautifully distorts the fits and visions of his genius. The alien bearded lady won’t stop screaming.

When Honus first spoke about the then-unannounced LP in an interview we did last year, he told us much of Use Your Delusion would be increasingly gentle on the vocal cords for a couple of reasons; One, Honus was shredding his pipes singing his older material and needed to tone it down in the interest of sustainability, and two, he sang more quietly in his LA practice space out of discomfort with an FKA Twigs knockoff and Bruce Springsteen cover band flanking him through either wall. I like to imagine somewhere they’re giving interviews about the shock of hearing “Red Velvet” from the other room.

Read our full in-depth interview with Honus Honus about Use Your Delusion, Man Man, Mister Heavenly and more, here. Buy Use Your Delusion here.

'10 Cloverfield Lane' is Highly Effective Slow-Burn Thriller

TV/Film ReviewEthan WilliamsComment

Proving lightning can in fact strike twice, the marketing campaign that snuck 10 Cloverfield Lane's teaser onto the Super Bowl lineup did in fact generate that similar ripple of excitement that made Cloverfield an enormous viral success.

 But interestingly, producer JJ Abrams and company opted to distance this installment significantly from the found-footage Godzilla-inspired model that made so many waves in the film world and instead opted for a more straightforward thriller that seemingly has nothing in common with its predecessor.

10 Cloverfield Lane plays like a longform classic episode of The Twilight Zone, with a first act punctuated by some gut-punch thrills and a final two thirds expertly constructed to be one of the most effective slow-burn thrillers in recent memory.  So even when the twists and turns it charts are par for the course in this sort of sci-fi/thriller mix, it’s the blend of perfect pacing and a towering John Goodman that truly separates it from the pack.

Michelle (Scott Pilgrim's Mary Elizabeth Winstead) finds herself locked in an underground bunker with two strangers after a seemingly catastrophic event occurred on the world above. Also trapped is farmboy Emmett (Broadway’s John Gallagher, Jr.), a lovable yokel tinged with regret about missing out on his life before the incident.

Their captor is Howard, with John Goodman playing exactly the type of guy you'd expect to build a massive fallout shelter under his farmhouse. Goodman's awkward yet still somehow menacing personality is just enough to put you on edge despite his best intentions. Goodman is nothing if not affable and that’s why the fact that he could snap at any time on the two youngsters is truly unsettling. It's by far the movie's highlight and yet another gem in the filmography of one of the all-time great actors (forget Leo, where’s Goodman’s Oscar for The Big Lebowski?).

Cloverfield Lane takes its time carefully unfolding the mystery of what happened aboveground as well as what secrets Howard is hiding himself, and the result is a thriller that doesn't rely on jumps or gore and treats its audience with respect rather than contempt. The pacing keeps things chugging along at a thrilling rate and aside from a somewhat underwhelming final ten minutes, 10 Cloverfield Lane is nail-biting fun that's far more than just a cheap marketing gimmick. If this is to be our new horror/sci-fi anthology, let’s not wait another eight years to get the next installment off the ground.