Hyphenated-Man brings Mike Watt back to his earliest days in the legendary Minutemen. Only two songs here out of 30 crack the two-minute mark. Everything plays like staccato-like bursts of energy where all the emotion is flushed out in record time. Playing as a power-trio with guitarist Tom Watson and drummer Raul Morales, Watt’s musical vision is jagged but right. There is no polish anywhere. The lyrics run the gamut from pointed to surreal to silly. Sly humor and personal polemics do battle with a trio that is sharp and determined. “Belly-Stabbed-Man” is Watt’s version of old-school hardcore, always with a hint of beatnik jazz somewhere in the pocket. Watt plays his bass like a lead instrument and with Watson breaking his chords into pieces, the effect is often similar to two men wrestling one another for the prize (“Stuffed-In-the-Drum-Man”). The Captain Beefheart hollers of “Baby-Cradling-Tree-Man” make for a “ballad.”

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