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Friend of Mannequin EP
Artist: Joy Electric
Label: Plastiq Musiq
length: 11 tracks/ 33:13

The lil’ brudder of Joy Electric’s 2004 LP, Hello, Mannequin, the Friend of Mannequin EP includes five new JE tracks, three remixes, and a three part interview where Ronnie Martin,  brainchild of Joy Electric,  talks about his band and his most recent LP.

The new JE tracks are a mixed bag.  “Friend of Mannequin” is fun to listen to the first few spins, but much like the track “Who Are Friends?” from Hello, Mannequin, it might begin to sound too repetitive over time for some.  “Hello Mannequin Part Two” is a new instrumental; it’s short, it goes nowhere, and overall feels rather pointless.  As a mid-album break, it works OK, but its no where near as impressive as Joy Electric’s past instrumentals.

And now onto the good stuff- tracks two and three, “How Friends are Made, Then Lost,” and “You’re Material” are super-silky, well-crafted electronic pop ditties. “Life In 1982” is in the same vein but is a small step down from the two previously mentioned tracks, but it’s still a likable song.  Two of the three remixes are surprisingly good- “The Works of Unknowns (Horton’s Summer of ’80 Mix)” is a lot of fun, while Sheltershed’s take of “Wolf in the Bend” manages to be danceable and atmospheric without falling into typical electronic dance cliché.  The September Equation does a remix of “Who Are Friends?” full of strange garglings and throaty effects.  I didn’t particularly like it, but it gets points for being different.  

Ronnie reveals the basic themes and inspirations behind Hello, Mannequin in the three-part interview. He expresses the value of having a relationship with God throughout life; while history may not remember who we are, being close to God provides our lives with the value and meaningfulness that we need.  We may be “unknowns” in the grand scheme of things, but a godly life brings the contentment of knowing that we lived for a reason.

Friend of Mannequin is a meaty EP.  It’s an easy recommendation for fans, and though I’d recommend the full length Hello, Mannequin to newcomers first, because of the revealing interview it may be a decent choice for newcomers to pick up as well.

Jonathan Avants 5/12/05



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