Playboy Manbaby is the contradictory soundtrack to the contemporary life experience. Grimly sarcastic yet youthfully nihilistic music that seems to crash into things with a semi-coherent deliberation that can only be generated by a group of frail but over-caffeinated and eternally anxious young adults. Playboy Manbaby is the theme song to the sentiment “what the fuck am I doing with my life?” Indecisive in both message and genre but never lacking in sheer intensity.
The group hail from Phoenix, Arizona and consist of Robbie Pfeffer (vocals), Chris Hudson( bass), TJ Friga (guitar), David Cosme (trumpet), Chad Dennis (drums), and Austin Rickert (sax). Having been a regional powerhouse for over five years with two previously released cassette albums on their own Rubber Brothers label, these lads have have shared the stage with the likes of: Mike Watt & The Missing Men, King Khan & BBQ Show, King Khan & The Shrines, Rocket From The Crypt, Thee Oh Sees, Cosmonauts, The Spits, Black Flag, The Descendents, The Replacements, The Slackers, Teenage Bottlerocket, among countless others.
Setting the tone with the scathing political satire of “You Can Be a Fascist Too,” a track they shared in the wake of November’s election because as they noted on Facebook, “we feel like every societal catastrophe deserves a proper theme song.” It’s the perfect introduction to an album that goes on to make its way through such modern punk and post-punk classics as the jittery, sax-fueled “Last One Standing,” “Cadillac Car” and “Don Knotts in a Wind Tunnel,” while Robbie Pfeffer’s unhinged vocals stylings underscore the brilliance of his lyrical approach.
Pfeffer says, “I’m really happy with how this album came out. It’s the most thought we’ve put into an album, it’s the most work we’ve ever put into an album and I think it’s the most coherent thing we’ve ever done. On my end I think the writing is significantly less esoteric and more focused. I’m not hiding what I have to say.”
They started work on the album in late 2014, Pfeffer says. “ We wrote a whole album and after recording a bunch and going on tour we came back and realized we hated a lot of the stuff we had written. So we scrapped 80 percent of the stuff we had done and started over.”
The next batch of songs were “significantly better,” Pfeffer says, We took our time on this one and it was our first album recorded track-by-track, which lets you mess with anything, which is a blessing and a curse. I never want to take so long on a record ever again, but I’m glad we did.”
They’re already 10 songs deep into the making of the next one, Pfeffer says. And there are three songs coming out in May on a split release. In the meantime, there’s a show to celebrate the new release, an all-ages blowout that features a Thin Bloods reunion, The Darts, Andy Warpigs and Genre.