The press release for this record was all talking about how this is Brant Bjork’s most political album yet, cuz apparently you gotta be political to sell records in this day and age. But when I listen to Mankind Woman, I don’t hear politics—it’s all about the grooves, maaaaan!
This 11-track effort kicks off with “Chocolatize,” a tasty 70’s style riff-orama, with an echo-heavy vocal and a smooth, mellow chorus, equal parts Cream and Blue Cheer. “Lazy Wizards” slows things down without drawing them out—like its predecessor, this one clocks in under three minutes, while maintaining that chill 70’s vibe. At a shade under four minutes, “Pisces” is more lyric-driven, but not necessarily political—the man’s just sick and tired of being sick and tired.
The title track lays down a vintage desert rock groove, with a sweet, soulful, call-and-response guitar lick that’s more than a little funky. The vocal phrasings on this tune at times channel Fu Manchu, though this slow-rollin’ number doesn’t really get out of first gear until it shifts into a mid-tempo shuffle past the 2:30 mark ahead of a super-mellow guitar solo. And in spite of its title, “Swagger and Sway” is a laid-back, lie-down tune—it sways more than swaggers, I suppose.
After the hazy psychedelic fuzz of “Somebody” and the high strangeness of “Pretty Hairy,” we get another crunchy, chilled-out fuzz-rocker in “1968” before the album ends on a spacey, preachy jam in “Nation of Indica.” Finally here we see Brant’s politics on display—smoke weeeed, maaaaan!