Dr. Manhattan - Jam Dreams (Cover Artwork)

Dr. Manhattan

Jam Dreams (2009)

Cassette Deck

Dr. Manhattan was dropped by their label, booking agent and their manager. The D-men became something of a lost hope for a while. At a show at Chicago's Metro in December 2008, they debuted a handful of new songs. As news of their parting of ways with Vagrant surfaced, I wondered if the world would ever get to hear another Dr. Manhattan record. With the eagerness and generosity of engineer Casey Bates and Saves the Day's Chris Conley, the D-men got a shot to make their second record. For free.

The end result turned out to be Jam Dreams, one of the best records of 2009.

Some tracks gained a lot of attention at shows well before the record could be heard. The already-fan favorites, "Biscuits and Groovy" and "Mailman" are well represented in studio form with gut-busting grooves from the former and incredible guitar work on the latter. The band has seemed to be able to capture an excellent live vibe throughout the record. Tracks like "Camping Ground," "Texas" and "Man with a Woman's Chest" are done with such intensity, it's nearly impossible to not want to blow your speakers out listening to these jams.

By no means is this a perfect record, though. The best example of its imperfections is the very first track, "Electraumatized." The song's awkward opening hook and chorus is thankfully salvaged by the high-energy, tag-team vocalized verses. I just wish that song didn't open up Jam Dreams. Another later track, "Cowgirl" is a cute love song (?) but overall it comes off awkward and uncharacteristic to the album.

If I could highlight a song in every highlighting color, I'd highlight "Misses Steward." This goofy, Beastie Boys-esque song, seemingly about motorboating a rather large pair of breasts, is done better than the Beastie Boys could ever do it. Sure, maybe the Beastie Boys can spit hot fire a tad better than the D-men, but the Beastie Boys couldn't write a song with a catchier chorus that fills any room in seconds like Dr. Manhattan does.

Dr. Manhattan does it better the second time around with catchier songs, louder screams and wittier lyrics. I don't care if you buy it, steal it, beg or borrow it. You need this record in your hands (or some equivalent). Dr. Manhattan is on the right path.

First we Jam, then we Jam.