Man Sized Action

  • Man Sized Action
  • Claustrophobia (Reflex) 1983 
  • Five Story Garage (Reflex) 1984 

To be the coolest band in Minneapolis nowadays you need a little more vision and talent than the gallant Man Sized Action could muster. But to be a cool band anywhere, all you need is this unpretentious lot’s commitment to a few good ideas. Man Sized Action opened up punk structures with distorted, ringing guitar, some off-kilter rhythms and emotionally sung lyrics. Like Hüsker Dü, they applied a neanderthal, propulsive attack to fundamentally poppy songs.

The lo-fi Claustrophobia, produced by Hüsker Düde Bob Mould, sets up powerful grooves, but never escapes its murky dynamic. Particularly on “My Life,” Tippy’s singing wall of guitar and Kelly Linehan’s supporting bass hint at the band’s ability to create beautifully textured sounds without sacrificing power or bracing crudeness.

Five Story Garage adds better production, better songs and a second guitarist. The quintet generates a surge of momentum that threatens to explode its punky pop hooks, making the album fast, powerful and surprisingly accessible.

[John Leland]