Exposé Online banner

4S'D — Man or Muffin
(HOBART 004, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-01-10

Man or Muffin Cover art

In the aftermath of The Muffins’ demise as a band, this group stands as a clear successor, with this album growing out of tunes that were originally planned for The Muffins as far back as 2008. But that was not to be, as the members had dispersed around the country. Luckily for us, former Muffins Tom Scott, Paul Sears, and Billy Swann worked with Mark Stanley to make the four S’s of the name and complete the music, presenting it to us as Man or Muffin (which is printed without a question mark — this may or may not be of significance). Most of the instrumental passages are quite similar to what we’re used to from Scott, Sears, and Swann, with clever riffs, lots of great sax work, and unpredictable arrangements. The tunes lean a bit more to the RIO side than Mother Tongue did, but not outside what you might expect. With the second track, we hear something unexpected: singing. With lyrics. The oddly treated voice comes in towards the end of “Aftermath” and establishes another side to the group. Vocals show up again on “Another Lost Tomorrow,” and here they are more central to the composition, and include backing parts as well, from various female members of the Scott family. “2319” is a kind of synthetic big band tune, with an electronic swing beat and parts (all real, with some treated in ways that sound synthesized) playing the roles of the trombone, trumpet, and sax sections. While Man or Muffin may be somewhat different than a pure Muffins project, I suspect that anyone who likes The Muffins would get into it as well. This is fun music, tricky but not overly serious, full of imaginative twists and turns, expanding on a legacy that stretches back to the 70s.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): 4S'D (Sears, Scott, Swann & Stanley), Mark Stanley, Paul Sears

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Akai Ikuo - Language without Words – This short album (in the neighborhood of 30 minutes even including the two unlisted tracks) is the first US release but Japanese experimental multi-instrumentalist Akai Ikuo. It’s a combination...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues