The Shape of Things – Man/Miracle

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Oakland’s Man/Miracle possesses a fairly full grab bag of post-dance-rock ideas, and they have the overall energy to execute most of them, but they don’t necessarily have all the details worked out in order to take it to the finish line, and at times they teeter on the edge of completely missing the boat.

Is that a mixing of metaphors?

A few of the songs are flat-out excellent, like the seductively cool (and oddly titled) “Hot Sprawl” and the artfully deft “Pushing and Shoving.” Other songs (“Other People”) conjure images of something akin to the Talking Heads’ little brother, who is trying his level best to imitate the older sibling, without much success.

Produced by Eli Crews (WHY?, Deerhoof), they can rattle the walls, at times, and keep the party hopping. They display some solid neo post-punk dance moves on “Back of the Card,” and, dare I say, they even recall some of the more frantic and noisy moments of the now mostly forgotten or derided Radio 4. Not that they actually qualify as a disco-punk band, more like a neo-new wave mash-up of everything around them. And, like all of us, they need to work on finishing what they start.